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They’ve got spirit



Smith-Cotton students show their homecoming pride at Friday’s parade. — Spotlight, D1

Home design Expert Nate Berkus shares tips and tricks. — Parade

• Editor Bob Satnan chronicles a local man’s journey to U.S. citizenship — Opinion, A5


• Missouri receives a $500,000 grant to help residents complete associate degrees. — Local News, A5


• The Rev. Mark Miller highlights the “signs of the times.” — Spotlight, D3


DREAM work lives on downtown BY EMILY JARRETT Democrat Reporter

Six years ago, Sedalia was one of the first communities in the state to receive a designation from the Downtown Revitalization and Economic Assistance for Missouri (DREAM) initiative. Sedalia chose to take advantage of the program through consulting, receiving $200,000 worth of serv-

ices for various studies, allowing a five-year strategic plan to be formed. “It was a very significant project for us,” said Administrator of Sedalia Downtown Development Inc. Meg Liston. “At the end of 2009, we closed out the first phase of DREAM, but we’ve been using the studies we conducted constantly in looking for ways to revitalize the downtown area.” The DREAM planning

studies included land use and infrastructure analysis, community and consumer surveys, retail market and residential demand analysis, financial assistance reviews and a marketing plan. The final step was to create a downtown strategic plan, which was completed in 2010. “The DREAM program got us started in the right direction to revitalizing the downtown area,” Liston said. “But unfortunately,

the end of the DREAM period coincided with the start of the economic decline and that really hurt us in trying to attract business downtown. When it was first announced we had a lot of interest from developers, but as that time wore on and it became clear there wouldn’t be a quick solution, it became a real problem.” Liston said SDDi and other groups began looking at ways to “stimulate


entrepreneurship” and while the projects may have not proceeded as quickly as she would have liked, there “have been a lot of real, tangible improvements.” According to Community Development Director John Simmons, since 2006, there have been approximately $16.5 million in private investments and $6 million in public

See DREAM, Page A8

This is the first story in the Democrat’s “Downtown in Focus” series, which will run in each weekend edition through the end of November.The series will take an in-depth look at the successes and challenges faced by ongoing efforts to revitalize Sedalia’s downtown business district.

Public Works mulls water rate increase BY EMILY JARRETT Democrat Reporter


Pettis County Clerk Nick La Strada talks about the importance of voting with third-grade students at Smithton Elementary on Friday ahead of a mock election for third- and fourth-grade classes.

Elementary election BY DENNIS RICH Democrat Managing Editor

SMITHTON — With 100 percent of classrooms reporting, third- and fourth-grade students at Smithton Elementary gave Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney the nod during a mock election on Friday. Pettis County Clerk Nick La Strada was the guest speaker to the thirdgrade classes of Cindy Thompson and Ginger Snapp and fourth-grade social studies teacher Hallie Gaines for the midday event, which marks the launch of the classes’ unit on government. La Strada walked students through the entire voting process, from registration to how to properly cast a paper ballot, before providing the children with sample ballots of the

See VOTE, Page A8

Vol. 144 No. 287 28 pages Copyright 2012 The Sedalia Democrat Printed with soy ink on recycled paper


Smithon third-graders, from left to right, Maggie Meyer, Chase Bybee and Isaiah McReaken cast their votes during the mock election, which saw thirdand fourth-grade students vote on sample ballots that included candidates in the Nov. 6 general election.



Weather . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A2 World/Nation . . . . . . . . . A3 Obituaries . . . . . . . . . . . . A6 Opinion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A7 Sports . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . B1 TV Listings . . . . . . . . . . . . B2 Comics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . B3 Classifieds. . . . . . . . . . . . . C1 Spotlight . . . . . . . . . . . . . . D1 Comics. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . D4

Today on In his online-only column, Travis McMullen gives his take on the Sedalia school district’s decision to expand sex ed. FACEBOOK: Search for Sedalia Democrat and click “Like.” TWITTER: Follow SedaliaDemocrat

During a special meeting Friday, the Board of Public Works discussed a possible water rate increase to pay for capital improvement projects. After reading a study from engineering company Bar tlett and West, board members looked at projections but didn’t take action on a rate hike. Water Depar tment General Manager Charlie Brosch said for residences that used an average usage of 5,000 gallons of water per month, an 8 percent increase would raise water bills from approximately $18.48 to $19.98. Commercial businesses using an average of 800,000 gallons per month would see an increase from approximately $1,700 to $1,900. “If we use that 8 percent increase, we won’t have to put as much of our reser ve funds into improvements,” Brosch said. “We have about $2.3 million in reser ve investments, so deciding the rate increase really depends on how much (the board) wants to spend out of the reser ves.” Board members agreed they “weren’t comfortable” spending a suggested $2 million, but would rather look at spending $1 million. “Looking at this 8percent, rates will go up about a buck,” said board president Jack Robinson. “In my mind, a buck is not a disaster. I don’t want to dismiss the increase because the last thing we want is for bills to go way up, but I hope people will understand they’re already paying a fraction of what (people in other cities) are.” Member Greg Nehring said he didn’t like the study’s proposal of raising rates by 8 percent ever y year.

See WATER, Page A8


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WEATHER Saturday, overcast. Rain likely. Highs in the low 80s. Lows in the high 50s. Sunday, clear. Highs in the low 70s. Lows in the high 40s. LAKE STAGES Lake of the Ozarks.......657.0 Truman.............................704.8 Page A2


WATER Continued from A1 “I’m ver y hesitant about that, that’s a 40 percent increase over five years,” he said. “I’d rather us raise the rate for one or two years, get to a normal level, then increase it by a percent or two the following years. I think 8 percent ever y year would be hard for the public to swallow. If we do it gradually, we can avoid doing what the city did when it had its

head stuck in the sand about sewer rates and raised prices drastically.” The board decided not to take action on the increase but asked Brosch to create a list of needed capital improvement projects to discuss at the next meeting. “If we have a list, with real numbers on cost, we can prioritize the projects and see what sort of rate increase we really need,” Robinson said. The next board meeting will be Oct. 24.

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Nov. 6 general election. “We are blessed to live in the United States of America,” La Strada told students. “If you are rich or poor, no matter who you are, your vote matters as much as anyone else. There are a lot of countries that don’t have this privilege.” All told, 89 students — 51 fourth-graders and 38 third-graders — made their choice among the four presidential tickets

mended. Intermediate Countr y Line Dance will meet from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursdays for seven weeks beginning Oct. 25 in Hopkins Student Center Room 714. Previous line dance experience is required. Cost is $59 and the instructor will be Mary Donnell-Brown. Dances taught will include Big Bang Boogie,

Down on Beale Street, Creepin, Mambo Shuffle, So You Don’t Have to Love Me, and other current dances. For more information or to register, call 5305822, e-mail or go to The lifelonglearning. courses are sponsored by SFCC’s office of Lifelong Learning.

appearing on the Missouri ballot: Democrats Barack Obama/Joe Biden, Republicans Mitt Romney/Paul Ryan, Libertarians Gary Johnson/James P. Gray and Constitution Party Virgil Goode/Jim Clymer. Romney, who has seen his presidential aspirations rebound following a strong performance in the first presidential debate, edged out his political rivals in the vote, garnering 54 percent of the vote with 48 total votes. Obama came in second with 39 percent, or 35 votes, Johnson captured 6 percent with 5 votes and Goode took 1 percent, with one vote.

Fourth-grader Matthew Thompson — a standout in his fourth-grade class who demonstrated a knowledge of past presidential elections that would shame some adults — spoke for the majority after the event, telling the Democrat he supports Romney. “I just think him and Paul Ryan will do a better job,” Matthew said. Matthew, whose mother is the third-grade teacher, said he enjoyed having a chance to weigh in. “It was fun because we got to say who we want for president,” Matthew said. Cindy Thompson said

the students will stage another mock election on Election Day, with thirdgraders working on a project in the next few weeks to “register” their secondgrade peers. La Strada told the Democrat he enjoyed the exercise and the opportunity to educate young people about the importance of voting. “They had a lot of good questions, and it’s great to see that they are excited about voting and being engaged,” La Strada said.



Continued from A1 investments to the area. In addition, 171 net jobs have been gained and two streetscape projects completed. One of the biggest goals for the revitalization included bringing 152 residential units to the area. With the Commerce Building apartments complete and the addition of Furnell Companies’ Cromwell Court, downtown is “well on its way to hitting that number” Liston said. “Cromwell Court and the new apartments being

21st Annual

Saturday, October 27, 2012 Is NOW Collecting COATS

(Blankets & rugs also being accepted for the Animal Shelter)

Mon.-Fri. 7:30am-5pm


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~ Donated items collected through Oct. 25th ~

700 South Massachusetts

ter Room 714. Cost is $49 and instructors will be Mary Donnell-Brown and Randall Schnakenberg. This class is designed for students familiar with the basic steps. It teaches more intermediate turns and twirls in two-step and waltz, basics of nightclub twostep and couple side-byside dances. Smoothsoled shoes are recom-


Mayor Elaine Horn and Dan VanDyne, president of Sedalia Downtown Development Inc., cut a ribbon spanning South Ohio Avenue in December 2009 during the city’s streetscape dedication. built by Furnell will definitely get us to our goal,” she said. “We’ve seen the population around downtown grow immensely in the past few years and until there’s a saturation, we’d like to see more residential units built.” “I believe that if we bring people to live downtown, shops and restaurants will follow,” said David Furnell. “Between The Essex and Cromwell Court, along with our new apartments that are being built on East Second Street, we’re making a commitment to bring residential properties to downtown Sedalia.” Aside from building new property, Furnell Companies also renovated Hotel Bothwell and the Fox Theater and turned the Furnell Landmark Building into a mixed-use facility, with retail space on the first floor, Furnell Companies headquarters on its second floor and an assisted living facility on

the third floor. “We tend to have a more long-term look at downtown,” Furnell said. “When the economy took a nose-dive, it affected a lot of businesses, ours included. The timing of DREAM and the economy was a shame, but I really think downtown is on its way to being a more vital part of this community.” Both Furnell and Liston said they’d like to see the third phase of the streetscape project finished, with Liston noting it’s now her “main goal.” “It all depends on funding,” she said. “Unless we can find funding through the state, which is unlikely, the city will have to pay for the project or possibly we can do it through TIF funds. Unfortunately there are other, more pressing (city) projects jumping up all over the place. We do want to see the third phase completed; it will help downtown immensely.” Simmons added he did-

Upcoming stories will include: Oct. 20: A look at the work of Downtown Business Boosters, a new organization that is hoping to help shape changes to the downtown area. Oct 27: A follow up on collapsed downtown buildings and the progress being made in cleaning up the debris. Nov 3: A look at how parking issues effect the growth of downtown businesses and what changes, if any, can be made to help alleviate what some see as a major issue hampering development Nov. 10: An update on the status of the Trust building and what plans, if any, are on the horizon for the iconic buidling. Nov. 17: A look at some downtown success stories, examining businesses that have had success/staying power in downtown area. Nov. 24: A broad analysis of the downtown strategic plan, a 2010 blueprint that highlighted eight goals for improving the downtown area n’t expect to start the third phase until 2014. “With the first two phases, retail downtown took a bit of a hit because we were closing down streets and sidewalks to get them complete,” he said. “And, thanks to the tenacity of the merchants, it was worth it. I’d like to see the streetscape finished sooner, but we haven’t identified funding for it yet.” Liston said while a lack of funding has hurt the timeline for some projects, there are many behind-thescenes things that have been done. “There are a lot of things we’ve worked on that don’t require huge sums of money; we definitely have enough to keep us busy,” she said. “DREAM was very helpful for us, especially the strategic plan. The project may look like it hasn’t been going anywhere, but DREAM was meant to be a start for -, a way to get them moving, not the final solution to every problem. “We’re going a little slower than we like, but we’re getting there.”



Digging up the past



State site showcases little-known Civil War battle. — Spotlight, D1


• Judge Deborah Mitchell says global journey is ‘a God thing.’— Opinion, A7

A Soldier’s Story

• The Diet Detective share tips for preventing a diet lapse — Spotlight, D5


• Pastor Richard D. Adams encourages politics with humility. — Spotlight, D3

Q&A with Iraq vet and author. — Parade


Group looks to ‘boost’ downtown BY ELIZABETH SCHLEICHER


Downtown Business Boosters formed in July

Democrat Reporter

A group of Sedalia business owners, retail managers and entrepreneurs have banded together to form the Downtown Business Boosters, a budding group dedicated to promoting commerce and revitalization in Sedalia’s downtown district.

The Boosters was the outgrowth of an idea that had its genesis in Jackie’s Salon, at 234 S. Kentucky Ave., during a chat between owner Jackie Fike and Millie Curr y, operator of the downtown Centur y 21 real estate franchise. “It began in the beauty salon,” Fike said. “I was doing Millie’s hair ... we

were talking about what we could do to help businesses that were struggling downtown.” Curr y had previously spoken with Maple Leaf Antique Mall Manager Don Simons, who suggested convening a group of downtown business owners, so the three worked together to invite businesspeople from

Sedalia’s downtown to meet weekly and trade ideas at the Maple Leaf Tea Room on 106 W. Main St. “It was sort of an effort to just generate some enthusiasm and try to help one another,” Curry said. “We just thought it would be nice to put all the people together.” The resulting group,

which has roughly 25 members, has met weekly since July 18. Attendees are a diverse group, ranging from new downtown business owners and seasoned retail veterans to local nonprofit groups, but each has in common the goal of “boosting business” downtown.

See BOOST, Page A8

This is the second story in the Democrat’s “Downtown in Focus” series, which will run in each weekend edition through the end of November.The series will take an in-depth look at the successes and challenges faced by ongoing efforts to revitalize Sedalia’s downtown business district.

County treasurer candidates offer strong qualifications BY DENNIS RICH Democrat Managing Editor

Pettis County Treasurer candidates Sheryl Von Holten and Kim Lyne both offer strong qualifications and experience for voters in the Nov. 6 general election. Von Holten, a Democrat, and Lyne, a Republican, are seeking to replace threeterm incumbent Jane Kelley, who announced in January she would retire from office. SYDNEY BRINK/DEMOCRAT

Students in Kelly Burkholder’s sixth-grade mathematics class use response pads, or “clickers”, to transmit their answers to multiple choice questions.The percentage of correct answers for each question is instantly transmitted to an interactive board in front of the class.

Teacher tech BY BOB SATNAN Democrat Editor

Robin Wyatte, a math teacher at Smith-Cotton High School, offered high praise for Becky Brownfield, the Sedalia district’s instructional technology specialist. “She takes the fear away,” Wyatte said. Now in her second year of expanding educators’ knowledge of and comfort levels with classroom technology, Brownfield has seen instructors’ attitudes do a 180-degree turn. “Overall, acceptance has been great. For many years, our teachers have been hungry for someone to


Jeremy Fry, a fifth-grade reading instructor at the Sedalia Middle School, right, explains to Becky Brownfield, an instructional technology specialist at Smith-Cotton High School how he compiles and uses student assessment data collected from every class he teaches.

Sheryl Von Holten Von Holten, a current employee in the Pettis County Assessor’s office, began working with the county in 2000, splitting her time between the treasurer and auditor Von Holten offices. After budget cuts in 2009 saw funding for her position eliminated, Von Holten made the transition into the assessor’s office where she handles a range of issues, including updating personal property tax information and mobile home assessments. A 20-year employee at Lamy Manufacturing, Von Holten returned to college after the Sedalia plant closed and received an associate degree in accounting from State Fair Community College in 2000. She then took a position with Pettis County Auditor Connie Purchase. She eventually began splitting her time between the two offices, working about 35 hours a week for Purchase and about fivehours a week for Kelley. She said she helped monitor the budget, worked up purchase orders, and prepared budget documents while employed by the

See RACE, Page A4

See TECH, Page A4

Vol. 144 No. 293 28 pages Copyright 2012 The Sedalia Democrat Printed with soy ink on recycled paper



Weather . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A2 World/Nation . . . . . . A3,A5 Obituaries . . . . . . . . . . . . A6 Opinion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A7 Sports . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . B1 TV Listings . . . . . . . . . . . . B2 Classifieds. . . . . . . . . . . . . C1 Spotlight . . . . . . . . . . . . . . D1 Comics. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . D4

Today on In his online-only column, Travis McMullen ponders Rowdy Roadrunner’s role in a morbid local mystery. FACEBOOK: Search for Sedalia Democrat and click “Like.” TWITTER: Follow SedaliaDemocrat


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WEATHER Saturday, partly cloudy, then clear. High of 66. Low of 50. Sunday, cloudy. High of 75. Low of 63. Rain likely. LAKE STAGES Lake of the Ozarks.......657.0 Truman.............................705.4 Page A2




BOOST Continued from A1 “That’s what this group’s been about, being a good neighbor,” said Simons, at a recent meeting. In its expansion to include new members and new ideas since its inception in July, the group has experienced the natural

growing pains of an entity tr ying to define its mission and determine the needs of the community. In recent meetings, the Boosters have talked seriously about their identity, wondering aloud whether they are a brainstorming forum, an action group or a little of both. They’ve batted around the possibility of raising funds of their own to achieve their ends, but haven’t quite

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come to a consensus on what those ends are. Group members’ interests range from the long-term (downtown marketing and events; saving or improving endangered buildings) to the more immediate (the challenge of parking downtown; the problem of feral animals in vacant storefronts) and each person feels passionately about their personal projects. Booster member Toby Dorr, owner of Troubadorr Innovative Solutions and Potter y Dogs on the lower level of 401 S. Lamine Ave., said the divergence of opinion on the group’s focus stemmed from the variety of downtown businesspeople involved in the discussions. “People who have downtown businesses who are successful ... those people have a different set of issues than those who are tr ying to start a business,” she said. Dorr characterized the group as being ‘at a crossroads’ and said that the Boosters faced a ‘couple hurdles’ as they formed their identity and plan of action, but she said, at its core, Downtown Business Boosters had a basic mission “to try to get together and figure out what we can do to help everybody succeed.” Fike expressed a similar sentiment. “This is kind of an adventure into the personalities of the people who work downtown,” she said. She added that the Boosters encompassed


both brainstormers and action-takers, people who liked group structure, others who would rather go with the flow and a wealth of different ideas about improving downtown. Fike said she thought it was feasible to accommodate a variety of projects for downtown revitalization, just not at the same time. “All these issues are important; you don’t talk about them all at once,” she said. “We have defined five areas, and they’re pretty common (concerns).” At the Boosters Oct. 17 meeting, the group did identify a handful of priority areas to address regarding downtown development: • Improving the availability of parking space for patrons of downtown businesses • Addressing the problem of pests (pigeons, feral cats, rats) in the downtown area • Cleaning up untended Dumpsters and other trash • Finding or creating a comprehensive map of downtown that includes downtown businesses • Welcoming visitors to Sedalia who arrive on the Amtrak and ensuring they have appropriate transportation from the Amtrak station to their destinations. For each of these issues, Fike asked the group to consider three questions: “Can we solve it?” “Can we improve (it)?” or “Should we share concerns with Meg’s (Lis-

S AT U R D AY- S U N D AY, O C T. 2 0 - 2 1 , 2 0 1 2

DOWNTOWN IN FOCUS OCT 27: A follow up on collapsed downtown buildings and the progress being made in cleaning up the debris. NOV 3: A look at how parking issues effect the growth of downtown businesses and what changes, if any, can be made to help alleviate what some see as a major issue hampering development NOV. 10: An update on the status of the Trust building and what plans, if any, are on the horizon for the iconic buidling. NOV. 17: A look at some downtown success stories, examining businesses that have had success/staying power in downtown area. NOV. 24: A broad analysis of the downtown strategic plan, a 2010 blueprint that highlighted eight goals for improving the downtown area ton’s) group (Sedalia Downtown Development, Inc.)?” Though Downtown Business Boosters has not decided definitively what it is, what it adamantly is not is another Sedalia Downtown Development, Inc., the nonprofit organization that has been in place since 1994 to “ensure the economic and cultural viability of the downtown commercial district.” Instead, the Boosters and SDDI see each other as partners with similar goals but different skills. “We’re complementary of each other,” said SDDI Administrator Meg Liston. “I think it’s a great group.” Liston, who occasionally attends Downtown Business Boosters’ meetings, said she believes the Boosters’ open discussions and freedom to generate ideas are a good alternative to SDDI’s more structured work in the community. She added that she foresaw the two groups working together to solve downtown challenges — the Boosters coming up with plans and SDDI using its experience to help carr y them to fruition. “They are defintely a big help, number one on the level of ideas and brainstorming,” Liston said. “It helps us to have a group like that.” Liston also said that the Boosters “link right in” with what Sedalia Downtown Development’s goals of downtown promotion, and she recommended that other downtown businesspeople get involved with the group, which she described as a “friendly” meeting of people “interested in seeing downtown grow and the retail community to be successful.” “I just encourage all the retailers to get involved and see what

they have to offer,” she said. Simons said there was plenty of room for the two downtown promoters to work together without stepping on each others’ toes and suggested there was a “niche” for each grow in the community. He characterized SDDI’s strengths as time, access to funds and structure and the Boosters as a volunteer organization that excelled at connecting people and solving problems. “There’s a lot of room in this town, whether it’s volunteer help, paid help; It’s all got it’s place in the system somehow,” he said. Though the group is still in the planning and discover y stage, the Boosters already have under their belts a part in one of Sedalia’s great downtown successes of 2012; the group was the catalyst for the return of the Salvation Army Santa House. “Donnie (Simons) invited the Salvation Army,” Curr y said. “He approached them about having the Santa House back downtown. They were enthusiastic about it, and they started coming to the gatherings that we have and started telling us what they would like to see and what they would like to have happen, and we just tried to do what they wanted.” The Salvation Army’s Mark Haslett said the Boosters were essential to the Santa House and Tree of Lights’ return, and he thanked them for their part in bringing back a tradition that he hoped would add to the “joy of Christmas” and help “restore a proper sense of peace” in Sedalia, as well as raise funds for the organization’s goals. “(The Santa House)Probably would not have happened if they had not made the call,” he said. “They actually reached out to us.” The Business Boosters’ ultimate goals for downtown are as diverse as the members of the group itself. From Curry’s hope to “achieve 100 percent occupancy of the buildings with good businesses in those buildings,” to Fike’s wish “that anyone who shops downtown would find the hospitality I know is there”, each Booster has a dream for the area that they feel is rich in histor y and more unique than any other place in Sedalia. “The businesses downtown offer unique items,” said Dorr, explaining why the revitalization of downtown was so important. “It’s not Walmart, not JC Penney, not Kmart. It’s not something you can find somewhere else.”

MORE INFO For more information about the Downtown Business Boosters, or to contact them, visit their website at downtownbusiness



U is for update




• Guest columnist Mathew Stockstill visits Paris, Venice, Rome and Istanbul — Opinion, A5

Follow the joys and frustrations of the 2012 Healthy U class as they hit their nine-month milestone.

Holiday fun


• Sedalia’s Water Board updated on possible rate increases — A4 • The Democrat’s guide to weekend entertainment — Spotlight, D5

Pippa Middleton celebrates Halloween. — Spotlight, D1 — Parade


Main St. buildings vex city, Kindle BY EMILY JARRETT Democrat Reporter

On Main Street across from the Amtrak Depot, a partially collapsed building that fell in February has become a constant eyesore to downtown residents and visitors. The building, at 203 W. Main St., is the third owned by Brad Kindle to collapse in the past three years, and after months of


City will demolish collapsed properties, but plans to sue sitting, it will finally be demolished sometime next month. During its meeting Sept. 24, the Sedalia City Council voted to approve a bid for about $82,000 — about half of the Community Development Department’s annual budget — to tear down both the 203 and 204 W. Main St. buildings. “(The Kindle buildings) are certainly not the only

dangerous buildings we have downtown,” said Community Development Director John Simmons. “But they’re probably the most well-known. It’s always been an ongoing problem for us.” The Kindle buildings’ issues started in April 2009 when the back half and outer wall of the building at 201 W. Main fell during the

night. Kindle started making payments for its demolition, but the insurance policy on the building and the other properties Kindle owned at 200, 203 and 204 W. Main St. were canceled. “Once the insurance was canceled, I tried everything I could to find a new company to insure those buildings,” he said. “When the building at 200 W. Main

collapsed in March 2011, we didn’t have insurance on it and we lost $100,000 worth of product.” After the second collapse, Kindle moved his business — K&K Restaurant Supply — from its Main Street location to Waterloo Drive over concerns of the structural

See KINDLE, Page A4

This is the third story in the Democrat’s “Downtown in Focus” series, which will run in each weekend edition through the end of November.The series will take an in-depth look at the successes and challenges faced by ongoing efforts to revitalize Sedalia’s downtown business district.

League of Women Voters to host forum


BY DENNIS RICH Democrat Managing Editor


On their day off from school on Friday, students in the Smith-Cotton Tiger Marching Band pay attention to their marching form and cadence as they practice in an empty parking lot at the school.They will compete Saturday in the Neewollah Festival in Independence, Kan., a 4.5-hour drive. “It will be an all-day affair,” assistant band director Stephen Broadbent said.The students will compete in the festival’s Grand Parade with 26 other marching bands among 127 entries and afterwards compete in a field show competition, he said.

‘No mountain high enough’ to keep them from Memphis BY BOB SATNAN Democrat Editor

“Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” isn’t just part of this season’s repertoire for the Smith-Cotton Tiger Pride Marching Band. It also sums up the challenge students face in their quest to perform New Year’s Eve at the AutoZone Liberty Bowl in Memphis. Band members, parents and boosters are in the home stretch of ascending their mountain — raising $500 per student to cover costs for the trip — but that effort has been on fast-forward due to a shorterthan-usual window. “We knew this was going to be a harder year because normally we start planning for a trip right after

See BAND, Page A6

Vol. 144 No. 300 24 pages Copyright 2012 The Sedalia Democrat Printed with soy ink on recycled paper


The temperature was brisk and got more so as the wind picked up, but short-sleeved ninth-grader Courtney Cooper showed no discomfort as she practiced her chops and steps during the mix of classic Motown tunes with the others.

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FOLLOW US ONLINE In his online-only column, Travis McMullen notes the trend of border-state businesses invading our economy. FACEBOOK: Search for Sedalia Democrat and click “Like.” TWITTER: Follow SedaliaDemocrat

Voters have a chance to hear from candidates in county and state House races during a public forum at Sedalia City Hall. The forum, hosted by the League of Women Voters of Sedalia-Pettis County, is set to begin at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Sedalia City Council chambers and will feature all candidates for eastern and western county commissioners and the District 51 and 52 Missouri House of Representatives races. Mary Merritt, League co-president, said the group has changed the format for this year’s event, with candidates receiving three questions prior to the event. Additional questions may be submitted by audience members during the forum, which will then be read by Merritt. “One of the major functions of the League is to try to send an educated voter to the polls,” Merritt said. “After the candidates have answered questions we will have refreshments and an opportunity for people and candidates to stay around and talk one-on-one.” Kathleen Boswell, the League’s other co-president, told the Democrat the forums are a way to gauge candidates’ ability to think on their feet and demonstrate an understanding of the issues. “I feel like sitting and listening where you can see them is one of the best ways to get a sense of how astute somebody is. People can look really good on paper where they can spell-check their words, but when you hear them in person, you get a better sense of who they are,” Boswell said. Both women agreed there was strong interest in the general election, both on the national and local levels, though Merritt said, “the thing we hear the most is that people are tired of all the campaign ads.” In addition to the forum, the League

See VOTE, Page A6


PICK 4: 0-4-5-0 SHOW ME CA$H: 1-9-37-38-39 MEGAMILLIONS: 4-15-24-36-40 MB: 44

WEATHER Saturday, clear, then cloudy. High of 48, low of 34. Sunday, cloudy, then clear. High of 52, low of 34. LAKE STAGES Lake of the Ozarks.......657.0 Truman.............................705.2 Page A2


S AT U R D AY- S U N D AY, O C T. 2 7 - 2 8 , 2 0 1 2


OBITUARIES Ca ro lyn Lee Rumph 1936 – 2012 Columbia, MO ———————— Carolyn Lee Rumph, 75, died October 22, 2012. She was born December 6, 1936, to Louis and Catherine (Potter) Cochran in Kansas City, MO. On December 27, 1957, she married Vash Rumph in Topeka, Kansas, and he preceded her in death. Carolyn was very active in her church, serving as an elder and deacon, and performing in the choir.

Michael Do ug las 1962 – 2012 Brookfield, MO ————————— Michael Douglas, age 50, of Brookfield, died Tuesday, October 23, 2012, at his home. A funeral service will be Saturday, October 27, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. at Wright-Baker-Hill Funeral Home with Gail Brown officiating. Visitation will begin at 9:00 a.m. Saturday, and the family will receive friends from 10:00 a.m. until service time. Burial will be in Lakeside Cemetery in Sumner. Memorials to the American Heart Association or the American Cancer Society may be left at or mailed to Wright-Baker-Hill Funeral Home, P.O. Box 496, Brookfield, MO 64628. Michael Edward, son of Junior and Sandra (Hon) Douglas, was born February 17, 1962, in Brookfield. Mr. Douglas had worked at Broderick and Bascom Wire Rope Company and Alcan Cable both in Sedalia. He also graduated from the Missouri Welding Institute in Nevada in 2008, and had worked as a Boilermaker.

There will be a memorial service held at 2:00 pm on Wednesday, October 31, 2012 at Trinity Presbyterian Church. Carolyn is survived by her four children: Tim Rumph of Laurinburg, NC, Lorri Wheeler (Gene) of Columbia, Matthew Rumph of Minneapolis, MN, and Andrew Rumph of Iron Station, NC. Memorial donations are suggested to Hospice Compassus or the Alzheimer's Association. Online tributes may be left at www.memorialfuneralhomeand

Survivors include a daughter, Whitney Douglas, and future son-inlaw, Trevor Bell, both of Sedalia; his mother and step-father, Sandra and Bob Taylor, of Sedalia; three brothers: Lonnie Douglas and wife, Amy, of Brookfield; Shane Douglas and wife, Jennifer, of Marceline; and Tony Douglas of Moberly; one sister: Michelle Blevins and husband, Ron, of Fort Leonard Wood; his grandfather, Ervin Windsor, of Sumner; one uncle, Donnie Douglas, and wife, Nancy, of Hale; one aunt, Judy Douglas, of Linneus; his companion, Christine Massey, of Independence; and several nieces and nephews and other relatives. His father, Junior Douglas; an uncle, Ronnie Douglas, and an aunt, Carol Jean Nickel, preceded him in death.

DEATH NOTICES Susan Gordon Bates City

Susan (Petruzzi )Gordon, 64, of rural Bates City, died Thursday morning, Oct. 25, 2012, at her home. Funeral services will be at 3 p.m. Sunday at Hadley Funeral Home in Windsor.

FUNERALS Aker, Lucille, 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Missouri City Cemetery in Missouri City. Arrangements are under the direction of Hadley Funeral Home in Windsor. Brown, Sadie, 2 p.m.

Saturday at AlexanderMay Funeral Home in Sedalia. Walker, Dalton T., 2 p.m. Saturday at First Baptist Church in Higginsville. Arrangements under the

direction of Heckart Funeral Home. Gordon, Susan, 3 p.m. Sunday at Hadley Funeral Home in Windsor.

BULLETIN BOARD KIWANIS TO HOST BREAKFAST The Sedalia Kiwanis Club will host a pancake breakfast from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at Christ and Trinity Lutheran Church, The cost is $5 for adults and $2 for children.

CRIME STOPPERS TO HOST DINNER Pettis County Crime Stoppers Inc. will host a spaghetti dinner fundraiser from 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Parkview Christian Church Family Life Center, 1405 E. 16th St. Tickets cost $6 for adults and $3 for children ages 4-12. This not-for-profit organization is funded solely by private contributions and various fundraisers such as this event.

RED CROSS OFFERS FIRST AID CLASS The American Red Cross will offer adult first aid/CPR/AED class on Thursday. Participants will learn how to control bleeding, how to care for seizures and how to prevent and respond to other emergencies. For more information, call 827-0618.

DINNER TO BENEFIT MAC MCCULLOUGH ID PROGRAM COMES A benefit for Mac McCullough will be from TO KNOB NOSTER noon to 3 p.m. Nov. 3 at Wesley United Methodist Church, 1322 W. Broadway Blvd. Chili, soup and dessert will be served. A bake sale and silent auction will also take place. All proceeds will go to McCullough to help pay bills while he is battling cancer.

ZUMBA EVENT SET FOR NOV. 3 Child Safe of Central Missouri Inc. is hosting “Get the Move On” zumba event from 1 to 3 p.m. Nov. 3 in the Big Lots parking lot in Thompson Hills Shopping Center. Susan Jansen, a certified zumba instructor, will lead the event. Prizes and refreshments will be provided. Admission the day of the event is $30.

SHRINE CLUB TO HOST BREAKFAST The Sedalia Shrine Club will host a breakfast from 7 to 10 a.m. Nov. 3 at 1375 Elm Hills Blvd. The meal costs $6. For to go orders, call 826-6171.

Knob Noster Masonic Lodge 245 is sponsoring the MoCHIP Child ID program from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 3 at the lodge on the corner of state Route D and McPherson in Knob Noster. The information collected about children is used as a recovery tool for authorities in case of an emergency. Each child will have a digital photograph and digital fingerprints taken and vital child information that will be burned onto a miniCD that is compatible with the Amber Alert system. Dental impressions will be taken and supplies enough saliva to provide a DNA sample. The only item retained by the Masonic Children’s Foundation is the signed permission slip. This is a free service and the process takes about 15 minutes per child. For more information, call Kyle Hookey at 660-2333331.

Water Board gets update on rate increases,other projects BY EMILY JARRETT Democrat Reporter

During its meeting Friday, the Board of Public Works got an update on possible water rate increases and prioritized capital improvement projects. During a special meeting earlier this month, the board asked Water Department General Manager Charlie Brosch to list all major capital improvement projects slated for the next five years to help determine how much of a rate increase was needed. On Friday, the board narrowed the list of 17 projects to the top three — purchasing and installing back-up generators for three wells, digging two new 1,500-foot-deep wells and annual water line replacement work. Total cost for the three top projects was estimated at $2.2 million over five years. “I think the back-up generators are the most important project,” Brosch said. “You see these ice storms or tornados and thankfully it hasn’t happened yet, but one of these days we’re going to have a major storm that completely knocks us out. Those generators will help

us continue to provide water services.” “I think this list (of projects) is important, it allows us to really see where we need to spend money during the next few years,” said Board President Jack Robinson. “One thing I’d like to point out is the item about making the Water Department building ADAcompliant. I think that needs to be a priority project no matter what we do.” The rest of the board agreed and Brosch noted the costs to remodel the downstairs of the building would be about $100,000. “It’s something we should have done years ago,” he said. “Right now, some of the workers (in the front office) have to go outside and wait on customers in wheelchairs because they can’t come in. It needs to be a priority, no matter what other projects we decide on.” Robinson said now that the list of projects was complete, the board could more accurately decide how much of a rate increase was needed; the last increase was in 2003. Barlett and West Engineer Mike Logston said the company looked at several different ways to increase prices over five years to generate enough revenue

to cover the cost of projects. “During the last meeting, (the board) agreed they didn’t want to go with the original 8 percent increase every year for five years suggestion, so we looked at a bigger increase up front with smaller, gradual increases the following years,” Logston said. “We ran the numbers and found that if you start a 12 percent increase the first year then 3 percent for four years, that will generate the revenue you need and give a small surplus that will carry over year to year.” Robinson said it was important to try to avoid a “rate shock, we don’t want people to get worked up over the rate increase but it’s something we need to do.” Brosch agreed, noting he found a Water Department letter from 1958 detailing water costs. “In 1958, the average water bill was $2.16 and today it’s $13.50,” he said. “As you can tell, we haven’t exactly raised costs dramatically over the years.” The board took no action on the rate increase and decided to discuss it further at its next meeting.

KINDLE Continued from A1 safety of the other buildings. When the final building at 203 fell in February, Kindle told the Democrat he didn’t have any solutions. “I keep looking for ways to fix the problem, but I don’t have any,” he said. “I feel awful that the city has had to take over the demolition and payments, but I don’t have $150,000 to renovate downtown buildings, I just don’t.” When he talked to the Democrat this week, Kindle reiterated those statements. “I know I come off as this dead-beat property owner, but that’s not the case,” he said. “It’s just a bad situation to be in. With the insurance canceled and the product lost, there wasn’t a lot I could do to pay for the demolition and clean up.” Those costs will instead be shouldered by the city, though there may be a chance to recoup some losses. City Attorney Anne Gardner plans to file a lawsuit on behalf of the city against Kindle, though she said she’s unsure how much or when the repayment will be made. “In municipal court, the max fine I could charge Kindle is $500 and obviously the costs are substantially more than that, so, with the city council’s direction, I’ve decided to file in state court,” Gardner said. “(State court) will allow us to attach a tax lien on all property owned by Kindle, not just the four lots on Main Street.” Gardner said she hadn’t yet filed the paperwork, instead deciding to wait on the final bid numbers to have a firm number attached to the suit, but said now that a bid had been accepted she would likely file by the end of the year. As for


A grassy lot is all that remains of the K&K Restaurant Fixture Company, 202 W. Main St..The owners of the building, Brad and Mary Kindle, of Sedalia, experienced another setback when one more of their buildings, across the street at 203 W. Main St., left, collapsed in February 2012. Kindle signing over the properties to the city — which he said he was willing to do — Gardner said there were complications with that plan. “Some of the properties have other liens against them,” she said. “So it would be like signing someone onto a house. You can take the house but then you have the mortgage, too. We want to make sure those other liens are cleared before we take over anything.” Kindle said it was his “understanding that all the buildings would be signed over to the demolition crew (Miller Custom Building)” but neither Gardner or Simmons could confirm if that was true. Kindle said he hadn’t signed any paperwork to that effect. “I haven’t had any direct conversations (with the city) about repayment,” he said. “I’m sure those talks are coming.” “This is one of those situations where there’s no good side to it, it’s horrible for everyone,” Gardner said. “But council has decided to pursue taking him to court to recoup some of those losses. We can’t spend our demolition budget every year on buildings that should be taken care of by property owners.” According to Simmons, while there are many factors that lead to a building’s collapse, water

and deferred maintenance are the two main problems. “We see it lot with absentee owners or under-utilized buildings,” he said. “To really catch the issues that these old buildings have, you have to keep an eye on the entire building. If the second floor is closed off, you may not know the roof is leaking, for example.” A leaky roof is usually just the start of problems, Simmons added, because once water damage starts it can be hard to control. “Water infiltrates old brickwork, and of course, most of these downtown buildings are 60, 70, 100 years old,” he said. “Something we’d like to increase is property owner’s education about older buildings: how to maintain them, what to look for and how to fix the problems.” In the meantime, crews are currently working on asbestos abatement on the buildings at 203 and 204 W. Main St., and Simmons estimated demolition would start in mid-November. “When those buildings fell, I not only lost the properties, I lost everything I’d worked for for 20 years,” Kindle said. “I didn’t cause them to fall, in fact, I don’t know what did. I wish I had a simple, easy solution to fix the problem, but I really don’t.”

Doctor K.’s column will return on Monday.



Afghanistan adviser


Sedalia judge Deborah Mitchell’s job in war-ravaged country has been an eye-opening experience for her — Spotlight, D1

• Bob Satnan writes that simple encouragements can make a big difference — Opinion, A7 • Volunteers will start collecting toys during the annual toy run — Local, A6 • Both SFCC basketball teams opened their season with a win — Sports, B1

Next term


Challenges await the next president. — Parade


Roads, bridges top county candidates’ priorities Five running for eastern, western commissioner positions BY DENNIS RICH Democrat Managing Editor


Almost every parking space is taken Thursday morning on the south side of the Pettis County Courthouse.

Downtown merchants in a spot over parking Many businesses feel courthouse, store workers take away slots, forcing customers to shop elsewhere BY BOB SATNAN Democrat Editor

Garnetta Sullivan looks out the front window of her Ohio Avenue business and sees nearly every park-

ing space taken up. The problem: Those vehicles generally don’t belong to shoppers who have come downtown to frequent local stores, but rather are owned by workers at downtown businesses or the Pettis County Courthouse. The cars remain in those spots for up to eight hours at a time, forcing shoppers to hunt for an open space or park off the courthouse square and walk to the shops along Ohio Avenue.

Sullivan, who owns Art Impressions at 412 S. Ohio Ave., is not alone in her views on downtown parking. “Punky McLaughlin had concerns over that for many years,” Sullivan said of the owner of the former McLaughlin Brothers Furniture Co., at 515 S. Ohio Ave. “And I’ve been around 13 years. I started off in the block south of here and there are parking issues there, there definitely are parking issues here, there are

See PARKING, Page A8

Voters in both eastern and western Pettis County will elect new district commissioners on Tuesday. Earlier this year, longtime incumbent Republicans eastern commissioner Rod Lindemann and western commissioner Larry Wilson announced they would not seek reelection. Both men saw their responsibilities grow over the last year, after the road and bridge superintendent position was eliminated and commissioners took over direct day-to-day supervision. In the eastern district, voters face a three-way race between Democrat Earl Luebbering, Republican Brent Hampy and Gregg Foster, an independent. In the western district, Democrat Randy Dillon faces Republican Jim Marcum for the open seat.

EASTERN DISTRICT Earl Luebbering Luebbering is an Army veteran, farmer, former small business owner and a retired heavy vehicle and equipment mechanic with 50 years of experience. He told the Democrat he is running because he wants to improve county operations and make sure resources are being spent equally between eastern and western

See COUNTY, Page A4

Horace Mann’s American flag has different kinds of stars,stripes BY BOB SATNAN Democrat Editor

At Horace Mann Elementary School, the grand old flag has a brand new look. Everyone at the school — all the students, all the teachers and the entire staff — has been photographed and included in an American flag that has become a focal point for Horace Mann’s Positive Behavior Support program. Students were paired up for pictures to create the stripes, and there were just the right number of faculty and staff for the 50 stars. “The kids love it,” said guidance counselor Amy Dunkin. “They love being displayed and

Vol. 144 No. 307 28 pages Copyright 2012 The Sedalia Democrat Printed with soy ink on recycled paper

looking for their photo.” Nancy Tempel, an aide interventionist who leads the school’s PBS program, said they went class by class photographing the students “and you can really tell which photos include close friends. Their heads are closer together and they are smiling bigger.” The flag was created over a couple of days and was displayed in time for parent-teacher conferences last week. Tempel said students brought their parents down the hallway that leads to the gym to make certain they got to see the flag. Dunkin added that people have come into the school just to check out the flag. Typically, the school’s fall class parties are tied into Hal-

loween. But this year, with Halloween already passed, the faculty decided to tie together the PBS program, the upcoming election, the annual anti-drug Red Ribbon Week and the school’s character education initiatives for the celebrations, which took place Friday. The character word for November is citizenship, so as part of those parties, students also took part in a mock election. On Friday morning, Peggy Moriarity scanned the flag to find the photo of her granddaughter, Emma Pettigrew, who is in the mixed-age class. “They are all so good-looking,” Moriarity said. Emma, who was

See FLAG, Page A8



Weather . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A2 World/Nation . . . . . . . . . A3 Obituaries . . . . . . . . . . . . A4 Opinion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A5 Sports . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . B1 TV Listings . . . . . . . . . . . . B2 Comics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . B8 Classifieds. . . . . . . . . . . . . C1 Spotlight . . . . . . . . . . . . . . D1

Today on In his online-only column, Travis McMullen asks:What restaurant would you like to see come to Sedalia? FACEBOOK: Search for Sedalia Democrat and click “Like.” TWITTER: Follow SedaliaDemocrat


Teachers and staff were used for the stars and students make up the stripes on an American flag replica at Horace Mann Elementary School.


PICK 4: 4-7-7-9 SHOW ME CA$H: 5-13-16-31-37 MEGAMILLIONS: 4-18-22-38-44 MB: 24

WEATHER Saturday, partly cloudy. Highs in the mid-50s. Lows in the mid-30s. Light winds. Sunday, partly cloudy. Highs in the upper 50s. Lows in the lower 40s. Light winds. LAKE STAGES Lake of the Ozarks.......704.8 Truman.............................657.1 Page A2




S AT U R D AY- S U N D AY, N O V. 3 - 4 , 2 0 1 2

Judge throws out 1983 murder conviction JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — A Missouri judge has thrown out the 1983 rape and murder convictions of a St. Louis-area man who case was taken up by nonprofit group that specializes in using DNA evidence to overturn wrongful convictions. Cole County Circuit Judge Dan Green on Friday ordered 56-year-old George Allen Jr. released from prison within 10 days unless the St. Louis circuit attorney decides to retry him. That office was closed Friday night, but Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce worked with the Innocence Project on the DNA testing. The judge’s written findings of fact in the case were not available Friday night. Allen, a diagnosed schizophrenic who is 29

years into a 95-year sentence, was accused of raping and killing 31-year-old Mary Bell after breaking into her St. Louis home. The crime occurred about 10 miles from Allen’s University City home during a historic snowstorm on Feb. 4, 1982. Lawyers with The Innocence Project took up Allen’s case in 2010, arguing that police coached Allen into confessing. They said Allen was cleared by the results of DNA tests not available in the early 1980s and other forensic evidence not shared with Allen’s trial lawyers. Allen was arrested about a month after Bell’s murder, when officers mistook him for a convicted sex offender who police had suspected and took him in for questioning.

Police said he confessed, and lab tests done then could not exclude Allen as the source of semen found on Bell’s robe. But police and lab documents that weren’t disclosed at trial showed that police found semen samples from two different men on the robe, and more sophisticated DNA tests completed last year ruled out Allen as the source of either, according to Olga Akselrod, an attorney for the New York-based Innocence Project. “What we’ve documented is powerful proof that George Allen did not commit this crime,” Akselrod told The Associated Press in an interview last year. Along with filing a petition for habeus corpus on Allen’s behalf, attorneys

asked Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster to review the new information. But Koster said in a filing earlier this year that the new evidence was not enough to prove Allen’s innocence. Allen’s supporters had argued it would have been impossible for him to walk 10 miles in a blinding snowstorm to a stranger’s home, then rape and kill her. Allen’s mother, Lonzetta Taylor, said last year he was home with her when Bell was killed. Allen said in the recorded confession that he was under the influence of alcohol. Akselrod said the interrogating officer often prompted Allen to give answers to fit the crime, even asking Allen at times to change his answers.


she passes by. “It’s pretty cool that we’re on the American flag,” she said. In a statement about effort, Tempel wrote that the flag “represents the unity in our school. We are a family committed to teaching and learning how

building good character is just as important as academic achievement.” The character education program carries a superheroes theme, Tempel said, because it is a concept students can relate to. The statement notes that “just like our favorite

superheroes, students have powerful roles to play in creating a better tomorrow for themselves and their families.” “We’ve stressed that they have a super job to do,” she said. “Character integrity is as important as academics.”

other members of the Downtown Business Boosters hope to get across to other business owners, their employees and courthouse workers. To that end, Swords has drafted a letter that the boosters plan to share with other merchants. “We drafted a letter because, ultimately, it would be nice if we could come up with some solutions by working together,” she said. “It’s not just one or two people that maybe have a beef with one person. This is a whole group of people who say, yes, this is a problem.” Sedalia Police Officer Victoria Kottman said parking enforcement is complaint-based. “There is a two-hour limit to most parking downtown, but we’re not out there marking every car,” she said. “If someone calls to tell us there is someone who has been parked for more than two hours in one spot, then we’ll go out and mark the car.” But Kottman noted if a driver who has a marked car moves it before that two-hour window is up, there’s nothing she can do. “Even if they move it a foot in one direction, the clock starts over,” she said. Sullivan contends that the parking issue is not only affecting current business owners, but is a rea-

son some entrepreneurs have chosen not to set up shop downtown. She said some have told her they believe there is adequate parking in the area, it just is not being used properly. “We rely on the community coming in and patronizing us,” she said. “We want customers to come down and enjoy downtown and be able to park and walk several blocks if they want to patronize several businesses.” Swords said that as she has raised the issue with other business owners, “They will say, ‘I didn’t think of that.’ The light bulb goes on, and they’ll say, ‘I park in front of my business every day and I never thought I was taking away from my own customers.’ ” Sullivan uses Walmart as an example. “If their employees parked in the most desirable spaces, it would cut down on people who would want to shop there,” she said. “So obviously their employees don’t park right out front in the most desired spaces. They’re reserved for customers.” The Downtown Business Boosters have a list of officials they want to invite to their Wednesday morning meetings — including representatives from the city, county and police department — to share their views on the matter. Pettis County Presiding Commissioner John Meehan said he has heard some talk of parking issues over the past couple of years, but no one has approached him directly about any problems. “I come in here every day,” he said. “Our courtrooms are packed almost daily. I’m not saying some county and state employees aren’t taking up those spaces, but people will park at the closest, most convenient location for them when they come in.” Meehan also noted that there are a number of state employees who work at the county courthouse, and he has no jurisdiction over them. Still, he would like to see “a good teamwork effort here” if the

problem is real. “If there is a concern, if someone would communicate that via email with me, I would be happy to share that with all the county employees,” he said. “The bottom line is, if the local merchants are doing well, then sales tax revenue is good and that affords us to provide the services that the public expects.” John Simmons, Sedalia’s community development director, acknowledged that parking matters are complaint-based due to manpower limitations on the police force. But he said the question is whether that is the right enforcement model to use. While dispatchers try to send one of the department’s three traffic patrol officers to deal with complaints, any officer on duty can deal with parking issues. “We do encourage people to call us if they think someone is over the twohour limit,” Kottman said. Kottman didn’t know how many tickets she’d written for parking violations downtown this year: “It’s so minimal, I honestly couldn’t put a number on it.” Simmons said City Administrator Gary Edwards “wants to take a good, hard look at this. ... We don’t want this issue popping up every three years.” Sullivan and Swords are hopeful that raising awareness of the issue with business owners and courthouse employees will be enough, and that stricter law enforcement won’t be necessary. “I think it’s solvable,” Sullivan said. “I think people could be good neighbors if they realized ... that they could be causing a retail business problems because their customers can’t get into them. “I would hope, as a group, if we can educate them in a nice way ... I would hope that that would work. But if it doesn’t then yes, it will have to be enforced.” The Democrat’s Emily Jarrett contributed to this report.

Continued from A1 photographed with her best friend, Paige Abney, for the flag, said she looks for her picture every time

PARKING Continued from A1 parking issues in the next block north.” With city lots available at Third Street and Lamine Avenue, and at Fifth Street and Osage Avenue, some downtown merchants have grown weary of seeing the same vehicles take up the spaces in front of their businesses for the whole day, limiting customers’ access to their shops. Michelle Swords, owner of Swords Family Pharmacy at 300 S. Ohio Ave., agrees that the problem has been persistent. Her building sits on a corner so her customers have two street-side options for parking, “but my competitors have drive-throughs,” she said. “I am dedicated to the downtown — I’m kinda stubborn that way,” she continued. “I believe in it. Is that a hindrance? Absolutely, that I don’t have a drive-through (for prescriptions). So parking is one more hindrance in the wrong way if (the spaces) are being taken up all day, every day, by people who work down here. It really does affect my business.” Swords mandates that her employees park in public lots and not in front of the store. That is a message that she, Sullivan and


NOV. 10-11, 2012

Celebrations, D2 Club Notes, D3 Diet Detective, D5

D1 WEEKEND PLANNER The Democrat s guide to Saturday and Sunday events in Sedalia and within a couple hours drive, and a look ahead to next weekend


“Railroad and the Civil War” The latest Special Agent Kids Club event in conjunction with the Working on the Railroad exhibit will be from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Katy Depot, 600 E.Third St. in Sedalia.Admission is free. Call 826-2932, ext. 18. katydepotsedalia. com SYDNEY BRINK/DEMOCRAT

The Sedalia Trust Building is a vacant fading architectural bookend to the Hotel Bothwell at Fourth Street and South Ohio Avenue.

A precarious Trust Iconic downtown building in need of repairs,new owner

BY DENNIS RICH Democrat Managing Editor


f buildings could talk, the Missouri Trust Building could fill volumes.

Located at the corner of South Ohio Avenue and West Fourth Street, the building’s story is really the story of Sedalia, punctuated by a cycle of boom and bust years beginning with the city’s place as a railroad hub in the 1880s and flowing through history to today’s efforts to reshape and revitalize the city’s downtown core. It has survived multiple owners, multiple fires, at least one notable bank robbery and the Great Depression. Like much of downtown Sedalia, which once flourished as the city’s economic engine, changing socio-economic conditions and years of neglect have left the castle-like structure in desperate need of attention if is to be preserved to write its next chapter. Sedalia architect George Esser, president of Sedalia-Pettis County Redevelopment Corporation which now owns the building, has spent more than a decade at the helm of the group and has plans at the ready for a $1.6 million renovation that would see the building’s top three floors converted into apartments, leaving the ground floor open for retail space. “The building can be had for $100, but it is based on these plans,” Esser said. What Esser and other supporters do not have is a buyer, though the property continues to draw interest, and, according to Esser, “We have come close a number of times.” “We had a buyer and ran it through the Historic Tax Preservation program and got approval with the drawings, so I have a full set of drawings ready to go for that building,” Esser said. Although the buyer ultimately



Tipton vs. Skyline The Cardinals (12-0) and Tigers (10-2) will meet in a state quarterfinal battle at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at the Tipton High School field. It s a rematch of an Oct. 19 game that was won 35-14 by Tipton.Admission is $6. COLLEGE BASKETBALL

UCM vs.Webster University The Mules and Jennies will tip off their seasons at 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. Saturday at the Multipurpose Building on the University of Central Missouri campus in Warrensburg.Ticket prices vary. MEN’S BASKETBALL

Mizzou vs. SIUEdwardsville


Ronnie Bale, with Schultz Wrecking Service, surveyed the damage in the Missouri Trust Building, formerly the Sedalia Trust Inn, in 2002 as he cleared the second floor of fallen debris.

After two exhibition wins, the Tigers will open the regular season against the Cougars at 4 p.m. Saturday at Mizzou Arena on the Columbia campus of the University of Missouri. Ticket prices vary. THEATER



Sedalia Trust Inn owner Yuri Ives removed debris from the first floor of the fire and water damaged building during a visit in April 1998. In February 2011, Ives was murdered in his Kansas City home by a teen he met on Craigslist. backed out, Esser said the tax credits are still in place, meaning “with those tax credits approved you get 45 percent of your money back.” Esser said there are a few historical preservation strings attached to the deal — such as a fairly stringent timeline for completion and some limits on the types of materials that could be used — but he believes the potential for a developer to recover

nearly $800,000 of the $1.6 million investment should help sweeten the deal. However, the building is not without some very real issues. After a pair of fires in 1997 ultimately saw former owner Yuri Ives all but abandon the property, the building sat for nearly three years before Esser and a host of local contributors secured the

See TRUST, Page D4

The building can be had for $100, but it is based on these plans.We have come close (to selling) a number of times. ... I have a full set of drawings ready to go for that building. George Esser, of Sedalia-Pettis County Redevelopment Corporation


Relevance Productions, of Kansas City, will stage the play at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the Studio Theatre in Yeater 126 on the State Fair Community College campus in Sedalia.Admission is $8 for the public and free for SFCC employees and students. Call 530-5814.


“Sanders Family Christmas” The sequel to the popular Smoke on the Mountain will be staged at 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Lyceum Theatre, 114 High St. in Arrow Rock.Tickets are $34.50 and various other ticket packages are available. Call 660-837-3311.


“The Man Who Came to Dinner” The Green Ridge High School Drama Department will stage the threeact comedy at 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the school.Admission is $4 for adults and $2 for students. THEATER

“Chicago” The Prohibition-era musical will conclude its run with shows at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday in the Liberty Center , 111 W. Fifth St. in Sedalia.Tickets are $12. Call 827-3228.


Jennies in D-II Central Regional The top-seeded and 12th-ranked University of Central Missouri Jennies will face the winner of Fridays match between Southwestern Oklahoma State and Minot State at 1 p.m. Sunday at the South Recreational Complex in Warrensburg in the second round of the NCAA Division II Central Regional tournament. Admission is $1-$5.

NEXT WEEKEND Saturday, Nov. 17 10 a.m.: Honk!, Stauffacher Theatre, State Fair Community College, Sedalia, $5, 530-5814, sfcc 2 and 8 p.m.: Sanders Family Christmas, Lyceum Theatre, 114 High St.,Arrow Rock, $34.50, 660-837-3311, 5:30 p.m.: State Fair Community College women s basketball vs.Wabash, Davis Multipurpose Center, Sedalia, $5, sfcc 6 p.m.: Mizzou football vs. Syracuse, Faurot Field, Columbia, ticket prices vary, 7:30 p.m.: State Fair Community College men s basketball vs. Harcum, Davis Multipurpose Center, Sedalia, $5, 7:30 p.m.: Blue Window, staged by University of Central Missouri Department of Theatre and Dance, Highlander Theatre, $7-$15, 660-5434020, 7:30 p.m.: Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, Sprint Center, 1407 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, $31$97, Sunday, Nov. 18 Noon: Chiefs vs. Bengals,Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, ticket prices vary,




S AT U R D AY- S U N D AY, N O V. 1 0 - 1 1 , 2 0 1 2


In 1998, Sedalia police officers blocked access to West Fourth Street in front of the Sedalia Trust Inn while a city street truck cleaned up glass and debris after a storm further damaged the building.

Continued from D1 funds to replace the roof. The repair prevented further deterioration, but between water damage from firefighting efforts and exposure, a walkthrough of the building makes evident that the Trust Building has seen better days. Stucco and brick have crumbled, parts of the third- and fourth-floor turret is exposed, and a termite infestation has caused some minor damage to parts of the ground floor. While a state loan and contributions funded the new roof, a gutter system for the north side of the building was never installed, leaving runoff from rain and snow to continue to damage the building. Esser said plans are under way to raise about $5,000 to install the gutter system before this winter sets in, as well as some basic repairs to the building’s exterior. “Everybody is afraid of it because it has sat so long,” Esser said. “But it is still very repairable. It’s just that people go in there and see the mess and that scares them. “It is the centerpiece of our downtown area. It is unique. It has character and all those things you can’t replace.” That sentiment was echoed by a number of people, including Community Development Director John Simmons, who told the Democrat during a walk-through of the building on Thursday that the Trust Building is a defining element of the city’s skyline and cultural history. “It would be a black eye for the city if this building can’t be saved,” he said. “The city certainly has


an interest in seeing this rehabbed,” Simmons continued. “But, I think time is of the essence. It is becoming urgent. We still have something to work with right now, but I don’t want to see us get into a situation where we are endangering the property owner next door, their safety, and I think we are already close to crossing that line. We can’t do many more winters on that north wall.” He added that while the damage the building has sustained over the years remains “cosmetic,” at some point “cosmetic becomes structural.” Local historian Becky Imhauser has preserved the storied past of the Trust Building in works such as “All Along Ohio Street” and considers the building a key piece of the downtown area. She and fellow members of the Central Business & Cultural District have provided funds to pay for termite eradication as well as the replacement of broken windows and other minor repairs. Imhauser said she hopes the building can be saved, but cost concerns for the city must be balanced with a host of other, more pressing projects such as the replacement of the Washington Avenue Bridge and construction of the new fire station. “I think the Trust Building represents our past. It shows the glory days of Sedalia — our days as the Queen City of the Prairie. No other building shows the trials and success of this city,” Imhauser said. “But it also represents our future. It is the most recognizable landmark of the downtown historic district. Even as in bad a shape as it is, people come through town from all over to get out and look at the building and take photos.”

Hasselhoff hopes for retro ’Knight Rider’ movie

3200 West Broadway


NEW YORK (AP) — David Hasselhoff still feels a connection with the younger generation, even though his popular TV series “Baywatch” has been off the air for more than a decade. “When Justin Bieber comes up and goes, ‘Hoff!’ and then Selena Gomez says, ‘It’s so weird he loves you,’ it’s great. It just means that you’re hip and it’s cool,” the 60-year-old actor said in a recent interview. “Baywatch” aired from 1989 to 2000. Hasselhoff also starred in the TV series “Knight Rider,” which aired from 1982 to 1986. To stay part of the conversation, Hasselhoff keeps busy and is always working. He stars in a Lifetime movie “The Christmas Consultant,” opposite Caroline Rhea, that airs at 7 p.m. Saturday. He will tweet backstage for MTV at Sunday’s European Music Awards and play Captain Hook in a Peter Pan pantomime in December in Manchester, England. AP: Would you ever want to do a full-time TV series again? Hasselhoff: It depends what the series would be. I’ve been approached by some dear friends who run ‘The Office’ and ‘Ugly Betty’ about doing a sitcom, being a part of an ensemble. I’d love to do that. I’d love to bring back more than anything kind of like ‘Murder She Wrote,’ or there’s a great show in the U.K. called ‘Lovejoy,’ or ‘Hart to Hart.’ Some shows that have got some fun, (a)


American actor, singer and producer David Hasselhoff poses for a portrait on Thursday in New York. little tongue-and-cheek like Cary Grant, and play my age but still know that secretly (the character) is livin’ hard, livin’ fast and lovin’ it because that’s kind of where I’m at in my life. AP: You can act, sing, perform on the stage and judge talent competitions. Why do you like variety? Hasselhoff: I embrace everything. All I want to do is be onstage. A performer needs to perform. You need to work. I think that’s why I’ve lasted so long. I grew up watching ‘The Carol Burnett Show.’ ... People are now beginning to see that I do variety. I do sing. I did do Broadway and the West End. AP: I’m sure you get a ton of offers. What do you say “no” to? Hasselhoff: I say ‘no’ to things that I can’t laugh with where they’re laughing at me and they’re trying to do something that is a little bit over-the-edge. ... If you don’t respect me you’re not gonna get that respect back.



Bird is the word

Online updates Keep up with coverage of Saturday’s community and sports events at


Several Missouri state parks are popular stopovers for our migrating feathered friends — Spotlight, D1

• This week’s Pastor’s Pulpit highlights missionaries — Spotlight, D3 • Arrests have been made in the robberies of Sonic — Local, A4

Hot deals

• The SFCC Lady Roadrunners rallied to beat Kirkwood 67-50 on Friday night — Sports, B1

Parade offers a holiday shopping guide — Parade

Pair faces first-degree murder charges BY EMILY JARRETT

Couple accused in death of 3-year-old Blake Litton

Democrat Reporter

New charges have been filed against a Stover woman and her boyfriend who are accused of killing her 3-year-old son. On Thursday, Morgan County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Doug Kinde filed charges of firstdegree murder and abuse of a child resulting in death against Jamie Litton, 26, and Thomas “T.J.” Presley, 22. The pair were previously charged with second-degree murder and multiple counts of endan-

gering the welfare of a child. Because of a media gag order, Kinde was unable to comment on the more serious charge, which is defined as “knowingly causing the death of another after deliberation.” A first-degree charge may carry a lifetime sentence or the death penalty if convicted. The investigation into Blake Litton’s death started in February after Presley called 911 to report Blake had been involved in a hitand-run accident. Law enforcement



investigators were suspicious of his story, noting the time and location of the accident — around 5 a.m. on rural state Route 135 in Morgan County — were unlikely to result in

an accident. During a preliminary hearing for Litton in July, Morgan County Sheriff’s Deputy Michael Chinn, who investigated the original call, said he immediately thought the situation was “odd.” “I found no vehicle parts, no blood, no liquids, no footprints or tire tracks to show that Presley had even pulled over to the side of the road,” Chinn testified. “I thought it was suspicious. At that time of night, it was around 5:15 a.m., it was dark and quiet. You could hear

a car, or see its headlights coming from a quarter-mile off.” Law enforcement officers eventually arrested Presley and questioned Litton about her involvement. The night of the killing, Litton was at work while Presley watched Blake and Litton’s daughter, who was nearly 3 years old. According to testimony from Missouri State Highway Patrol Trooper Stacey Mosher, who interviewed Litton immediately after the case was deemed a homicide, Presley sent Litton a text message

See COUPLE, Page A4

School board to mull new boundaries torelieve congestion Principal: Horace Mann is ‘pretty much at maximum capacity’ BY BOB SATNAN Democrat Editor


Waiters and waitresses rush to fill the orders at Fitters 5th Street Pub during a lunch hour on Thursday.

Bring ’em back downtown Firms have ideas to improve customer flow,profits BY BOB SATNAN


Democrat Editor


owntown has proven fruitful for many Sedalia businesses, but owners and key managers of some of the area’s more successful enterprises have ideas and wish lists to bring more people and profits to the courthouse square and beyond.

This is the latest story in the Democrat’s “Downtown in Focus” series, which will run in each weekend edition through the end of November.The series will take an in-depth look at the successes and challenges faced by ongoing efforts to revitalize Sedalia’s downtown business district. Fitter’s 5th Street Pub opened a little more than a year ago at the southwest corner of Fifth Street and Ohio Avenue. The bar/restaurant has built a solid lunch clientele and has a steady flow of customers filling its

barstools and booths hours after most other downtown businesses have closed for the day. Amanda Chambers, manager of Fitter’s, said owner Stacey Fitterer, who opened his first Fitter’s location in Warrensburg in 1996, was ready to expand and liked Sedalia’s downtown atmosphere. While the first floor has been booming, renovations on banquet space for about 60 people on the second floor finished this week. Chambers said work on a bigger space that will hold up to 120 people will start upstairs in the spring. “We’ve had a great year, I learn something new every day,” Chambers said. “We have a great staff now

See BACK, Page A6

Growing enrollment at Sedalia elementary schools is presenting problems for administrators, especially at Horace Mann Elementary, which Principal Todd Fraley said is “pretty much at maximum capacity.” During Monday night’s Sedalia School District 200 Board of Education meeting, Assistant Superintendent Brad Pollitt said: “Our elementary buildings are becoming increasingly crowded. They are not overcrowded at this point, but they are still becoming crowded.” That issue is felt most at Horace Mann. Fraley told the Democrat: “There comes to a point in time where you run out of space, Fraley and we are at that brink.” He said the school has some classrooms — especially at the first and second grade levels — that exceed state recommendations. And while not much can be done to address crowding this school year, in December the board is scheduled to vote on a boundary change for 2013-14 that would shift 21 current Horace Mann students to Parkview Elementary. Horace Mann’s eastern boundary would move from Washington Avenue to Ohio Avenue between Broadway Boulevard and 20th Street. Pollitt told the board that the affected students are fairly evenly distributed across grade levels: six in first grade next year, five in second, seven in third and three in fourth. He added that all of the

See BOARD, Page A4 Vol. 144 No. 321 20 pages Copyright 2012 The Sedalia Democrat Printed with soy ink on recycled paper



Weather . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A2 World/Nation . . . . . . . . . A3 Obituaries . . . . . . . . . . . . A4 Opinion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A5 Sports . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . B1 TV Listings . . . . . . . . . . . . B2 Comics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . B6 Classifieds. . . . . . . . . . . . . C1 Spotlight . . . . . . . . . . . . . . D1

Today on In his online-only column,Travis McMullen trusts that someone will step forward and save the Missouri Trust Building. FACEBOOK: Search for Sedalia Democrat and click “Like.” TWITTER: Follow SedaliaDemocrat


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BACK Continued from A1 … we expect a really high standard for people who work here, and they can be hard to find.” And with the added banquet space, Fitter’s will be hiring more staff soon. Chambers has built solid relationships with other downtown shop

managers and business owners, and she supports the area as much as she can. “I really try to do a lot of shopping down here,” she said. “There are some great shops down here.” But she also sees missed opportunity. “There is a lot of tourism in downtown Sedalia, there are lots of people passing through, a lot from the Katy Trail,”

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she said, noting how the trail is disconnected at Fifth Street before it picks up again at Boonville Road. “If we could do more marketing to those cyclists, that would help downtown as well, because once you get back on over here at Fifth, there aren’t a lot of places where you can get off (the trail) and do things in Sedalia,” Chambers said. “The downtown could really corner that market because they are already off the trail.” She said adding some signs where the trail breaks at Fifth Street “could be helpful. That’s the easiest exit route from the trail for cyclists.” Living downtown Furnell Companies is trying to build downtown traffic in a different manner. The Landmark Terrace building it calls home, on the southeast corner of Fifth Street and Ohio Avenue, was a new construction project; next door is the Fox Theatre Events Center, which was a historical rehabilitation. Furnell also owns commercial and residential rental space and two senior living facilities in the downtown area. Furnell Vice President Erica Eisenmenger said the focus is getting people downtown, and getting them to stay. “If we get people to live downtown, people just walking up and down the streets and making downtown a viable part of their everyday life, then the businesses will come, the restaurants will come,” she said. “But to me the key is getting people to live and associate their daily lives with downtown.” Thoughts of Sedalia’s downtown typically turn to the historic nature of the buildings and architecture, but Furnell shook up that mix when it built the Landmark Terrace. “Having a newly constructed building, maybe with that some modernization was seen with downtown, showing that downtown is progressing,” Eisenmenger said. “It’s not just a bunch of old buildings ... There can be some modernization brought in and a little more livelihood to the downtown area.” Furnell’s experience shows there is some truth to that contention. Eisenmenger said all of the Landmark’s first-floor retail space has been rented, and the Fox is booked through December with Christmas parties. “So obviously, there was a need for that,” she said. Then and now There are other needs, as well, and Michelle Swords is mindful of that as potential renters consider moving into her buildings. Swords, her husband, John; and daughter, Alex, 13; own five downtown buildings — including the former bank building that houses their Swords Family Pharmacy, 300 S. Ohio Ave. — and are in the process of buying a sixth. Swords believes downtown is at its best as a shopping magnet when it has a variety of goods and services available. “We are selective in who we let in,” she said. “We make sure they understand the gamble they are taking, but they also know we will take care of them as a landlord, that they’ll be in a safe building and it looks nice.”

S AT U R D AY- S U N D AY, N O V. 1 7 - 1 8 , 2 0 1 2


Swords Family Pharmacy, 300 S. Ohio Ave., is one of the downtown’s business success stories, having occupied a former bank building and restored the building’s architectural features in the city’s commercial historic district. Swords Family Pharmacy is located at the corner of South Ohio Avenue and West Third Street, across from the recently renovated Commerce Building.

Fitters 5th Street Pub is located at the corner of South Ohio Avenue and West Fifth Street in the first floor of the Esser Building. Swords worked at Reed & Sons when it was located downtown, and she remembers when other retailers, such as Lockett’s and Wellers, were part of that scene. “I was down here when all of them moved out, and everybody thought it was going to dry up and blow away,” she said. “And there for a few years, it looked like it might. That was when we had a lot of out-of-town owners hanging plastic and putting swimming pools on the third floor to catch the water instead of fixing the roof.” But Swords believes in downtown’s legacy. “We invest a lot into our buildings,” she said. “The more you learn about history, it’s addictive. You realize that once something is gone, you never get it back. ... These buildings, if you take care of them and do the maintenance, they are here to stay.” Two recent departures have left voids downtown, Swords said. Dollar General’s move a mile north on Ohio Avenue eliminated convenience shopping for many downtown residents and business owners, and the closing of the Ivy Cottage Tea Room reduced midday traffic and a lunch option. Swords has added items such as dishwashing soap and paper towels at her pharmacy to help her community. “Lots of people down

here are a one-man show,” she said. “What do you do now if you run out of paper towels or forgot your lunch and need some snacks? ... I don’t want anyone to look at downtown as a hindrance to their business. We have a communal feel because we can relate to each other. It’s you and your store, and days can be very long.” Adding and investing Amenities that would add to shoppers’ and merchants’ experience downtown, Swords said, are public restrooms and water fountains. She also would welcome a café that was open in the mornings. “Is there any place in the morning to get a cup of coffee? And I have thought, ‘Do I have room to put in a couple of tables and offer a coffee pot?’ That is my way of thinking. And hopefully, if someone moved into the tea room space, they would have morning hours so you could go it to get a roll and cup of coffee.” “I just want a wide variety of retail shops, places to eat and services,” she added. Eisenmenger sees a solid mix of offerings downtown. “I do see more variety in what is offered downtown, from gifts and home décor to photography shops to eateries to specialty stores,” she said. “I think that variety is important. ‘Locally owned’ is

such a mantra right now, shopping local, supporting local businesses. I like seeing that.” Chambers noticed that three new thrift stores have opened in the area in the past month or so. She’s hopeful other businesses will follow. “I would love to see it, and we would do anything we could to help,” she said. “The more that is down here, the more people would check it out. ... If you have more restaurants, bars, maybe a bigger retailer down here … something with a known name, that would help. But I don’t know how easy that is to accommodate in an older building.” Eisenmenger said Furnell has “found our home here in downtown, and we believe in the future of it. We strive to continually invest in that, not only to help our contributing businesses but to boost other businesses as well, because we do see a potential for our downtown. We want to stay, and we want others to stay, and we want others to come as well.” Swords also believes in her investment. “Tithing, reinvesting, that is a biggie,” she said. “I would be a lot richer if I didn’t constantly reinvest in the building, in the downtown. It’s a Christian philosophy. I believe you tithe a business’s income just like you do your personal income. And God will bless that business.”



Shop till you drop


Area shoppers were out and about snapping up Black Friday bargains — Spotlight, D1

Online updates Keep up with coverage of Saturday’s community and sports events at

Love is ... Taylor Swift speaks out on her life — Parade

• The Pastor’s Pulpit discusses the Fourth Commandment — Spotlight, D5 • Democrat editor Bob Satnan has much to be thankful for — Opinion, A5 • High school basketball gets under way as Warsaw and Tipton are hosting tournaments — Sports, B1

Sedalia ‘sitting on a gem’ downtown Officials vow to work to get area designated as CID

BY EMILY JARRETT Democrat Reporter

In 2010 Sedalia Downtown Development Inc. finished completing a downtown strategic plan that was years in the making. Starting with the 2006 Downtown Revitalization and Economic Assistance for Missouri (DREAM) designation, the strategic plan was the final step in

providing a blueprint for what lay ahead in the downtown area’s future. Covering everything from housing, to staffing levels to how to best market the area, the plan ended with 62 different objects that boiled down to eight specific points: enhance the capabilities of SDDi, establish a Community Improvement District, improve downtown build-

ings, increase the residential population, enhance public parking lots, create wayfinding elements, create downtown marketing materials and establish and build an entryway plaza. “All of the goals, we’ve made some sort of progress on, some more than others, but we’ve made progress,” said SDDi Administrator Meg Liston.

“The problem is the end of DREAM coincided with the economy’s fall, so a lot of the money we thought we could count on dried up.” Creating a CID would solve many of the funding issues but in an ironic twist, SDDi doesn’t have the funds needed to start that process. “A CID really takes between 18 months and

three years to get set up and between $10,000 and $20,000 to fund, depending on what work needs to be done,” Liston said. “The first thing we would have to do is hire a consulting firm to really go over the details — where the district boundaries are, how much we would be bringing in, talking to everyone in the

See GEM, Page A6


Project Search helps transition from classroom to workplace BY BOB SATNAN

The bells are ringing

BY EMILY JARRETT Democrat Reporter


tarting this week, bells will once again be ringing in Sedalia as Salvation Army volunteers spread out across the city to encourage residents to donate to the charity’s famous red kettles.

This is the final story in the Democrat’s “Downtown in Focus” series. The series took an indepth look at the successes and challenges faced by ongoing efforts to revitalize Sedalia’s downtown business district.

Program gives special students aboost

After getting a couple bills from his mother, Jorden Clark, 4, slides the money down into the slot of the kettle while Michael Jackson, a fire inspector for the Sedalia Fire Department, rings a bell in front of Walmart.

Salvation Army volunteers man the famous red kettles to help less fortunate


Democrat Editor


Sgt. Kelley Casto helps Mason Miller, 7, stuff some money given to the boy by his mother, Kristi, into a Salvation Army kettle in front of the Walmart entrance.The Sedalia police officer was among a group of employees from the Sedalia Police Department and the Sedalia Fire Department who manned the kettles Tuesday in front of Walmart. “I think the bells are such a tradition around the holidays, people always expect to see them around town but maybe don’t think about the manpower it really takes to keep them going,” said Salvation Army Volunteer Coordinator Sue Foster. “Even an hour or two, any time you can spare, I can use

all the help I can get.” Foster said more than 2,500 volunteers helped the charity last year, “Not just ringing bells but also helping pack the (holiday meal) distribution boxes, going on nursing home visits, helping with the toys. The more people we have to help,

See BELLS, Page A6

FOOD DRIVE The Salvation Army, in conjunction with the Food Bank for Central Missouri, will host a food drive, Dec. 1, at both Bings locations and Woods Supermarket. All donations will be given to eligible families for a Christmas dinner box. For more information call 8261525.

Sedalia School District 200 special education teachers and administrators have ramped up emphasis on helping students transition from the classroom to the workplace, and a new program will give select students the skills they will need to obtain and hold onto a job. In June, the Sedalia district received a $66,200 grant for Project Search, which has a primary objective of securing competitive employment for people with disabilities. Sedalia is the fourth Missouri community to launch a Project Search program. “We feel very fortunate,” said Chris Pyle, director of special services for the Sedalia 200 district. “We know we are the smallest community in Missouri, and there is a question whether we are the smallest in the United States with the program.” Project Search has more than 200 sites around the world, and has

See BOOST, Page A6 Vol. 144 No. 328 24 pages Copyright 2012 The Sedalia Democrat Printed with soy ink on recycled paper

INDEX Weather . . . . . . . .A2 World/Nation . . . .A3 Obituaries . . . . . . .A4 Opinion . . . . . . . . .A5 Sports . . . . . . . . . . .B1 TV Listings . . . . . . .B2 Comics . . . . . . . . . .B6 Classifieds . . . . . . .C1 Spotlight . . . . . . . .D1


YEAGER’S from all of us at

Nov. 24 31 shopping days to Christmas

CYCLE SALES, INC. 3001 S. Limit • Sedalia, MO



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BELLS Continued from A1 the better.” Social Work Director Cynthia Hopper said she expected the Salvation Army would help between 600 and 700 families this holiday season. “Every year our numbers go up,” she said. “The economy is a huge

GEM Continued from A1

district and sitting down and explaining what it is. Then we would have to have a public vote. It’s a very long process.” Key, Liston said, is creating a marketing campaign to get the issue passed, especially since only those in the potential CID district would vote on the issue. “It’s a lot of knocking on doors, talking to property and business owners about what a CID can do for them and the downtown area,” said Community Development Director John Simmons. “The CID earns its money through a portion of property and sales tax and the funds would be used for the redevelopment of the CID area.” The broad definition of redevelopment is intentional, Liston said, so the funds can be used for nearly anything such as more staffing at SDDi, a marketing plan to lure developers to downtown or

BOOST Continued from A1 active programs in 39 states. Other programs in Missouri are in St. Louis, Kansas City and St. Peters. The program takes special needs students who have completed four years of high school and provides them with a fifth year of instruction centered on employment skills and knowledge; the “classroom” is a partner business that can offer suitable employment for the students. Being a rural district offering the program offers great advantages for students, but some difficulties for those tying to get it off the ground. “We have found it is a blessing for us, but we also found it is a bit of a challenge as far as looking at a host business to build a relationship with,” Pyle said. Brooke Spratley, special

S AT U R D AY- S U N D AY, N O V. 2 4 - 2 5 , 2 0 1 2

factor because it’s been so slow to recover. We’re seeing families who we may not have ever seen before, they just need a little extra help around the holidays.” The charity is currently taking toy donations for its Christmas shop. Volunteers will arrange the toys by age group, then eligible parents are able to “shop” for the toys themselves. “It’s important to them to pick the toys out themselves,” Hopper said.

“Even if they are free, to be able to pick out exactly what you think your child will want for Christmas, it’s important.” Also important, Hopper noted, is the need for gifts for teenagers. While the Salvation Army sees many toys for babies and younger children, their older brothers and sisters are sometimes left out. “We’re always looking for more gifts for the teenagers,” she said.

“Games, gift cards, electronics. I think sometimes it’s easy to go to Walmart and pick out some fun toys for young kids, it’s harder to remember those kids who are maybe 12 and older, they deserve a great Christmas too.” The Christmas shop will also have a new location this year. Space constraints at the Salvation Army’s headquarters on East Broadway Boulevard forced Hopper and Foster

to rethink the shop’s strategy. “Between the food drives and hosting lunch here, it got to be too much,” Foster said. “So we’re going to set it up at the Rent-A-Center in the Woods shopping center. It’ll allow us to spread out and really focus on making it as organized as possible.” Hopper said this was the busiest time of year for the Salvation Army and

volunteers are in demand. “It’s really a coordinated effort to get everything done, we’ve been planning since August,” she said. “The more people we can bring together to help us — no matter what they do even if it’s just volunteering for an hour — the better this will turn out.” For more information about how to volunteer or donate to the Salvation Army, call 826-1525.

safety and parking improvements, among other things. “Because it’s such a multi-step process, and because we want to do it right, we haven’t started working on the CID yet,” Liston said. “Instead, we’re focusing on other areas of the strategic plan that are just as important and a little more within our reach.” The goal both Liston and Simmons said has had the most success was increasing residential units in the downtown area. “I can tell you that was all because of DREAM,” Liston said. “When we got that, developers were eligible for historic tax credits and other grants so they really started investing in the downtown area.” The Commerce Building redevelopment was the first, quickly followed by Furnell Companies-owned Cromwell Court and the Essex. The Lincoln-Hubbard renovation is also included, as it’s close enough to the outskirts of downtown to be able to participate, Simmons added. “Between those commercial properties and sev-

eral building owners who have done, or plan to redo, upper floors into loft space, we have more than 100 residential units that have been built in the last three or four years,” Simmons said. “Residents come first, then retailers,” Liston said. “If we can show there’s a need for nightlife in Sedalia, for more shops or a market and weekend activities, retail developers will start to look more closely at the area.” Liston said she’d like to see more loft space developed as it provides an added bonus of allowing owners to keep an eye on the entire building. “When an entire building has heating and cooling and there’s someone to say ‘there’s a leak on the second floor that needs to be fixed’ you can avoid a lot of the problems we’ve been seeing with under-utilized buildings,” she said. “There are many second and third story spaces available and we’re trying to encourage people to think past that first initial cost to get them renovated.

Eventually they’ll recoup the costs, pretty quickly too, in rent and increased property value.” Another goal that’s in progress is the creation of an entryway plaza sign on South Ohio Avenue and West Broadway Boulevard and despite some pushback from the public, Simmons said the project is needed. “If you’re driving down Broadway, there’s a five or 10-second window of opportunity to look down Ohio Avenue and see the downtown area,” he said. “Even if you’re paying attention, the sign that says ‘historic downtown Sedalia’ is on the left side of the street, not the right side where you would turn. We’ve known we needed something that would signify to everyone ‘Here it is.’ ” Liston said every consultant SDDi has had mentioned the need for a sign. “This isn’t something we thought of just because it would look nice,” she said. “It’s important to be able to point people in the right direction. We have a lot of visitors every year —

especially now when we’re getting all these conventions on the fairgrounds — that have no idea we have a historic downtown at all.” The sign, which is paid for through a 70-30 split with the Missouri Department of Transportation, will span Ohio Avenue about 25-feet from the Broadway Boulevard intersection and may be finished as early as next summer. “We’re still waiting on final approval from MoDot, but if we get it it will be a great addition to the downtown streetscape,” Simmons said. Wayfinding signs to be placed around the downtown area are also in the works, though SDDi hasn’t identified a funding source to create them yet. Simmons said signs that also point out public parking are also slated to be finished. “We do want to let people know where they can park for free,” he said. “Something the strategic plan mentioned was the need for improved parking lots. Bill (Beck, director of the Public Works Depart-

ment) and I actually go walk through all the parking lots downtown every year. We have a system of improving the lots and try to tackle problems as they come up but we are getting to the point where the city is going to have to seriously start thinking about whether we need to repave certain lots or continue to patch them.” Overall the future of downtown looks bright, said Liston. “I think we’re going to see a period of real growth and investment in small businesses and communities,” she said. “We’re probably not going to see big department stores come in, like J.C. Penney years ago, but that’s OK. Now is the time for smaller boutiques and specialty shops.” Simmons agreed, noting that as regional market grows, downtown will follow. “Every national consultant that has come through has said to us, ‘You’re sitting on a gem here,’ ” he said. “It’s easy to overlook downtown but I truly believe it’s on its way up.”

education coordinator at Skyline Elementary, wrote the grant application and is the district’s transition coordinator. Two years ago, she attended a Missouri Council of Administrators of Special Education meeting where a Project Search program offered a presentation. At the time, the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education had some grants available, but the Sedalia district was not yet ready to take the plunge. Spratley and Assistant Superintendent Nancy Scott, who oversaw special services before Pyle took over the duties in July, had conversations about the need for transition programming for students, and Project Search became part of those discussions. In May 2011, Spratley contacted Project Search and learned that Missouri had awarded all of its slots, but three districts backed out. She assembled a collection of partners — Mis-

souri Vocational Rehabilitation, Center for Human Services, West-Central Independent Living Solutions and DESE — and put together a grant proposal in just two weeks. The Sedalia district not only was accepted as a Project Search site, it also was granted a year to launch its program because it was identified so late. Spratley said the grant money is directed for a site license with Project Search, which includes training, technical assistance, attendance at a national conference in Cincinnati this summer and quarterly meetings that include additional training. Participation also must include an instructor who will oversee the program at the host business. The Sedalia school board on Nov. 12 approved hiring the position, which will be paid through average daily attendance allotments from the state for the eight to 12 students who will take part in the program.

The instructor must be special education certified, Pyle said, adding that an ideal candidate would be someone with a business background as well. But what is needed now is a business to serve as a partner and training center. Pyle said the district has had conversations with a couple of local companies. “Right now, we have a wonderful team,” he said. “This is a true collaborative effort and everybody wants to see it happen. Our biggest challenge is the size of our community and getting a host business.” Part of that challenge is making it clear to prospective host businesses that the training should not be focused on custodial or food service jobs. “To quote our trainer, it’s not the easiest jobs, but the more complex and systematic jobs,” Spratley said. “Jobs that are going to be more routine, but not necessarily in food service, not necessarily cleaning

floors.” She said one of the original Project Search students continues to hold her job preparing and sterilizing instrument trays and cleaning the exam rooms at a dental clinic. Pyle said for Project Search to be successful here, it needs a host business “that will allow us to invade their space, to put our instructor in there. They have to be willing to help the community and take on the additional responsibilities to get this started.” Students will have to apply to participate in Project Search. Spratley said special education students who are seniors this year would have to apply for next year’s program. They will undergo work assessments and interviews to determine what internships would be most beneficial. The first year, the program will take eight students, and in subsequent years it will take up to 12. If there are not eight qualified students in the Sedalia district, the program will accept students from the West Central Consortium, which includes Green Ridge, Cole Camp, Otterville, La Monte, Smithton, Lincoln, Sweet Springs, Warsaw and Northwest. Spratley said there will be an open house in January to explain the process to parents and consortium

schools. Interviews will start in March so students can be selected and prepare for the next school year. Project Search is not the only effort the district is putting forth to help prepare special needs students for life outside the classroom. At Smith-Cotton High School, teacher Mike Robertson leads a transition class that focuses on resume writing, social skills, how to dress for a job, interview skills, obtaining a driver’s license and more. “We realized in our community of education in Sedalia 200 that we wanted to start helping our students with special needs transfer the things they learned in our school district … into a work force, to be employable,” Pyle said. “We wanted to help our students not just leave with their diploma, but have an opportunity. … Everybody who has a job … has selfsatisfaction, and that is the goal we wanted our students to learn through the transition process.” Pyle was struck by a story from a parent of a Project Search student shared during recent training. “You could see the emotion on her face,” Pyle said. “She was so proud. Project Search and the employer broadened her outlook on her daughter’s abilities.”

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Opinions expressed in editorials marked “Our View” are those of the editorial board and the publisher. All other opinions on this page are those of the authors or artists.




Item in abundance downtown: Promise


ention “Downtown Sedalia” and you’ll get any number of reactions, ranging from nostalgia and hopeful optimism to sneering criticism and, at worst, apathy. OUR VIEW

Over the past seven weeks, the Democrat has taken a look at the heart of the city and the issues it faces. We are hopeful those reports provided some insights into the district, its challenges and successes, and the efforts being made to return it to its former glory. From Fitter’s 5th Street Pub to Stone Laser Imaging, from the Maple Leaf Tea Room to Sedalia Hobby, there is a lot going on downtown. The DREAM initiative and the streetscape project have given the area a much-needed facelift. Building owners are renovating loft spaces to add residential units, and the transformation of the Commerce Building into affordable housing also has been helping bring more people into the area. Older buildings provide costly challenges, and their owners must make good-faith efforts to keep their properties safe and presentable. The Downtown Business Boosters, a group of proactive merchants, is working to address issues that may be hurdles to increased traffic. The Trust Building continues to stand as a testament to past glory and future potential. Parking availability is being discussed more openly, and those who have had success downtown continue to believe in and reinvest in the area. To be clear: Downtown Sedalia is not going to return to being the all-encompassing hub of commercial activity that it was until businesses started moving out

DOWNTOWN IN FOCUS Oct. 13-14: DREAM initiative Oct. 20-21: Downtown Business Boost-

ers Oct. 27-28: Building demolition Nov. 3-4: Parking availability Nov. 10-11: The Trust Building Nov. 17-18: Success stories Nov. 24-25: Community Improvement

District to highways 50 and 65 to take advantage of pass-through traffic. But downtown continues to be a vital cog in the city’s economic machine and stands a good chance to draw even more people to the area should some enterprising entities choose to invest there. A renovated Uptown Theatre would certainly serve as a magnet, as would a breakfast/coffee shop. A corner market with staple groceries and home goods would make living downtown more convenient. And additional bar/restaurant establishments would reinforce the imprint that Fitter’s has made in the evenings. State Fair Community College has graciously provided the former McLaughlin Bros. Furniture Store space as a temporary home for the Sedalia Public Library; once the library moves back to its permanent home, SFCC could add to the downtown dynamic by providing some of its popular Lifelong Learning courses in that space. Despite the sneering critics, downtown isn’t dead — far from it. Downtown Sedalia has much to offer, and even greater potential. The way to ensure it continues on its recovery trend is to make it a point to shop there, supporting our neighbors who have invested in the area and believe in its promise.

SEDLINE “Hey Sedalians, Dale Malone does a lot of good for this community. Let’s all support him by either buying one of the bicycles (for the Community Santa program) or stopping by and having lunch.” • “I heard an economist ... say sooner or later the dollar is destined to crash. Spain, Greece, Portugal, people are rioting because of pensions being cut, high unemployment, college tuition being raised.What are Americans going to do when our social programs collapse?” • “Thank you so much to whoever is responsible for getting our papers back on the porch. You can’t know how much we appreciate it.” • “Why (are) the chicken trucks allowed to come through Sedalia scattering the feathers all over the place? Isn’t that a form of littering, which is against a city ordinance?” • “Can you honestly say that spending all that money on that particular part of the library is going to make the rest of it OK? I don’t think so. ...That’s one of the advantages to living outside the city limits, your tax money isn’t wasted so much.” • “It’s a little ridiculous to pay that much money for an old library.What you’re going to have in the end is an old library for a new library price, and it’s not like that is the only library in town. So I say ‘no’ to the tax increase.This is not going to do the community any good.” • “There’s a local restaurant that has provided many of us with decades of good memories that is having some financial woes. People need to stop talking about its problems and show up and spend some money.” • “The pictures in the paper of these little 6-, 8-, 10-year-olds sitting next to the deer they killed is very disturbing.These little kids should be allowed to be kids, not taking part in something that should be for adults. ... A child should never be allowed to touch a gun, much less having a parent promoting this behavior.” •

ONLINE VOICE In his online-only column,Travis McMullen shares a piece of fan mail and examines thoughts about how each generation is seen as more lazy by its predecessors. • Check it out at

“Pretty nice to work for the water department and get a $1 an hour raise ... I just don’t understand this situation, because there are a lot of people who only get a 20-cents-a-year raise, and maybe 20 cents in 10 years.” • “I believe this Washington Avenue bridge situation is way out of hand.We’ve ignored it too long.You know what I’ll do? I’m going to run for mayor next time it’s up, and spend unlimited cash to get elected. Mark my words.” • “There are many people so unhappy with their jobs, they’re even out protesting.Why not quit, and give someone else who wants to work have a chance?” • “(Regarding the Thanksgiving dinner at St. Patrick’s Church) I have volunteered for the past six years ... and there are plenty of young people working.” • “The election is over, the best man won, we need to go forward. ... Let’s have a joyous Christmas and quit whining about what happened. It’s over, it’s done, life goes on.” • “I sure am glad old John Wayne didn’t live to see what is going on in this country today. But we could really use your help now, Duke.” • “Let me guess, the doctor who quit taking Medicare patients the day after the election is another of those bitter Republicans. Our doctor told us the doctors who say they are through, if they are not Republicans, just don’t like the new computer input stuff.That has been here for the past couple years, way before Obamacare.” • “I’m really disappointed with the brand new Taco Bell.They left the handicapped parking area where it used to be, and there is no way to access the ramp except fighting the cars going halfway down the parking lot to the side door.” • “If you got free food at a table for five or more because of some glitch, why wouldn’t you go ahead and tip the waitress who kept your iced tea full?”

Readers are encouraged to submit letters to the editor of up to 300 words. All letters must include your full name, home address, occupation and a daytime phone number. The editor will consider for publication guest essays on topics of public interest. See for the full policy. Send to: Letters to the Editor, Sedalia Democrat, P.O. Box 848, Sedalia 65302. Letters may be sent via e-mail to

School’s decorations have roots in service

Smith-Cotton Junior High School is giving off a holiday glow thanks to some stuff that was found on the roof. Principal Wade Norton told me that over the summer, he had building head custodian Dean Collins lead a tour of the facility, including the roof. There they found a collection of large metal frames; Collins said they were holiday decorations built by former teacher Kim Graves and some students. “We just let it go and left them there, but about a month ago we said, ‘Let’s put them back up,’ ” Norton said. Collins and assistant principals Jason Curry and Stephanie Jackson removed the old lights, strung the frames with new lights and affixed them to the building. There is a blue Christmas tree, a red star and “Season’s Greetings” spelled out in white script across the top of the building. BOB SATNAN/DEMOCRAT Norton said it took four or five hours to take the old lights off and restring the Smith-Cotton Junior High is now adorned with an illuminated “Season’s frames. Greetings” display, originally created in “There was a cut hand on Mr. Curry, the mid-1990s.The building also features but it didn’t take too long at all,” Norton a large star and Christmas tree. said. I called Graves to learn about the decorations’ origins. decided to use real problems and real “We made them in 1994, ‘95, somechallenges as a curriculum base,” he where in there,” he said. “I had become continued. “It means so much more to the A+ Schools coordinator, and we were students when the problems and chalimplementing curriculum changes, lenges they face are real and the outincluding initiating a more aggressive comes are real.” service learning program.” As an example, he noted The service learning prothat when trees were planted in grams’ purpose is to search front of the school, math stuout unmet or undermet needs dents came out to help dig the in the community, Graves said, holes, and afterward measured and in looking at what then the average angle on the sides was the high school building, of holes and calculated the vol“it could use a little Christmas, ume of dirt that was displaced. Bob so we thought we would add “When teachers look for some lights to a building that opportunities to blend service Satnan the community holds in high with learning — I am such a —— regard.” disciple of that methodology, it DEMOCRAT Graves recalled that metals excites me still,” Graves said. EDITOR instructor Gary Waner and He moved from the high students Brock Simon and school to Whittier school in David Smith, among others, were 1999, and he said that was the last year involved with the project. The students the decorations were used until Norton engineered and constructed the pieces and his crew put them up last week. and determined how to suspend them Graves has yet to see the display — his safely. father, Ken Graves, recently became ill “In service learning, you try to take and died Tuesday. skills that students possess and give Norton said residents were driving them a chance to hone it, or introduce by the building and commenting the them to a new skill set,” Graves said. next day. “They learned the ‘plan your work, work “They say, ‘Those are nice, new decoyour plan’ routine. ... There were a lot of rations.’ And we explain there is nothing unique problem-solving opportunities new about them — the only thing new is there.” the lights. and we explain where they Years removed from the classroom, came from,” Norton said. “We hope Mr. Graves still has a place in his heart for Graves drives by, we hope he sees them service learning. so he knows that the work he put into “I am appreciative of the many staff them is still being used.” members who, in the mid- to late ‘90s, Graves said he is “very pleased that employed service learning as a teaching Wade has resurrected this project.” methodology,” he said, specifically citing “What Wade has done has rebirthed Donna Poort, who “took on converting a Christmas tradition from a time ago,” those World War II veterans pictures in he said. “We looked at Smith-Cotton as the hallway into an actual volume of our house, and we wanted to provide researched stories about real people, some type of Christmas spirit for the with real historical documentation.” community and for passersby.” “Teacher after teacher up there ...


by Scott Stantis



On a mission


Sacred Heart students show how much they care for Marines about to be deployed to Afghanistan — Spotlight, D1

Online updates

• Pastor’s Pulpit asks that you don’t forget Jesus this Christmas — Spotlight, D5 • Bob Satnan found students that learned real-life lessons while loading boxes — Opinion, A5 • Otterville beat Northwest 48-45 in the semifinal of the Northwest tournament — Sports, B1

Sweet! Meet the cookie contest winners — Parade

Keep up with coverage of Saturday’s community and sports events at

Trust Building gets new lease on life BY EMILY JARRETT

Sedalia native buys iconic facility and plans to develop it

Democrat Reporter

For historic preservation developer Greg Rodewald, it pays to read the newspaper. While in town over the Thanksgiving holiday visiting his sister, the Sedalia

native read an article written by Democrat Managing Editor Dennis Rich about the historic Missouri Trust Building at Fourth Street and Ohio Avenue, which has sat vacant since 1997. The story, part of a

series on the downtown area, inspired Rodewald and his wife to take a look at the building. “When everyone else was doing their Black Friday shopping we came downtown to look around,”

Rodewald said. “After a lot of conversations together, and with my company (Oklahoma City-based Crowne Development and Consulting), we decided now was the time to take it over and renovate the prop-

erty.” Rodewald, who was born in Sedalia and raised in Green Ridge and Lincoln, is no stranger to historic renovations. He was the developer, and helped secure funding for the Lincoln-

Hubbard renovation that turned the former school into affordable housing for seniors. Rodewald also has a history with the Trust Building itself and toured it for possible renovation as early as 2007. “Growing up, it was

See TRUST, Page A6

Stover man arrested in deaths of two seniors Ronald J. Blowers being held on $1 million bond at Morgan County Jail BY EMILY JARRETT Democrat Reporter


Skyline Elementary School kindergartner Kyle Thomas, right, likes what he sees as fourth-grader Eric Horne writes a letter Friday to Santa Claus based on what Kyle tells him. Fourth-graders in Amy Wise’s class spend a class period every week interacting with the kids in Tina Emery’s kindergarten class.

Stamp of approval Skyline fourth-graders help kindergartners pen letters to Santa — and both groups enjoy it BY BOB SATNAN Democrat Editor


avid Ogorodnik had a simple question for Santa: Are you coming to my house on Christmas Eve?

With the help of an older student, that question — and David’s request for a toy truck and a jet — may be answered. Skyline Elementary School fourth-graders on Friday helped their kindergarten “reading buddies” craft letters to Santa as part of their weekly get-together.

See STAMP, Page A6

SHARE YOUR LETTER Children can have their letter to Santa published in the Dec. 22 edition of the Sedalia Democrat. Letters should be submitted by Thursday and can be dropped off at the Democrat, 700 S. Massachusetts Ave., submitted via or mailed to Sedalia Democrat, c/o Letters to Santa, 700 S. Massachusetts Ave., Sedalia, MO 65301. Letters also will be posted on

A Stover man has been arrested in connection with the slayings of two elderly residents who were found dead in their home Tuesday. Ronald J. Blowers, 25, is being held on a $1 million bond at the Morgan County Jail on two counts of seconddegree murder, two counts of armed criminal action and burglary after admitting to police officers he was in their home Blowers at the time of the homicides. According to reports, Mable Wells, 71, and Wayne Wells, 82, were found by a neighbor Tuesday morning in their home in the 34000 block of Oak Hill Road. An autopsy confirmed the couple died as a result of blunt force trauma to the head sometime between 5 and 9 p.m. Monday. Around 6 p.m. Monday, the Missouri State Highway Patrol received a report of a rollover accident at Ivy Bend Road near the scene of the homicide involving Blowers, who was driving a red Ford Explorer. Neighbors reported seeing a vehicle matching the SUV’s description fleeing the scene of the homicide. When officers attempted to contact Blowers at his residence Tuesday night,

See STOVER, Page A4 Vol. 144 No. 340 24 pages Copyright 2012 The Sedalia Democrat Printed with soy ink on recycled paper

INDEX Weather . . . . . . . .A2 World/Nation . . . .A3 Obituaries . . . . . . .A4 Opinion . . . . . . . . .A5 Sports . . . . . . . . . . .B1 TV Listings . . . . . . .B2 Comics . . . . . . . . . .B6 Classifieds . . . . . . .C1 Spotlight . . . . . . . .D1

Merry Christmas

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• “They (the kindergartners) tell their parents they don’t want to miss school on Friday.” •

Continued from A1 Each Friday, teacher Amy Wise’s fourth-graders and kindergartners in Tina Emery’s class share books and bonding time, as the teachers’ classes have for the past seven years. Emery said the kindergartners look forward to the spending time with their buddies and having someone other than her read to them. Wise said the sessions provide fluency practice and “good oral reading opportunities” for the fourth-graders. On this Friday, Emery’s room was as busy as Santa’s workshop, with the kindergartners detailing two things on their Christmas wish list and a question they had for Santa, and the fourth-graders doing the actual writing on a letter form. “Remember, the plural of elf is elves,” Wise told the room. “How do we make that? Drop the f and add v-e-s.” She also reminded her students to write in complete sentences, capitalize proper nouns and to “represent Skyline well.”

TRUST Continued from A1 always part of the Sedalia landscape,” he said. “And more recently, before my sister moved back to the area, when we visited for the holidays, my wife and I would always stay at Hotel Bothwell, which is right next door. I don’t know how much time we spent look-

Tina Emery, Skyline Elementary School teacher As the class comes to a close and the fourth-graders start filing out the door, returning to their classroom, Lane Huddleston, left, gives his writing buddy, Raden Cooper, a goodbye hug. SYDNEY BRINK/DEMOCRAT


Chase McMullin, left, reads a book by children’s author Laura Joffe Numeroff to Nick Cooper. After the writing assignment, the older kids spent the rest of the class period reading books by Numeroff to their younger classmates. Fourth-grader Christopher Reaves paired up with kindergartner Nick Cooper, who asked Santa for an Ironman toy and “a DS with a Mario game in it.” In his letter, Nick asked Santa, “How is Rudolph doing?” After completing Nick’s letter, Christopher read to him from “If You Give a Moose a Muffin.” Olivia Oloff earned

praise from Emery for her letter, in which she asked, “What does Mrs. Claus do when you are out delivering presents?” Olivia’s gift requests were some red roses and a Barbie doll. Caleb Bush was in Emery’s kindergarten class and now is one of Wise’s fourth-graders, so he has seen both sides of the reading buddies program. He helped Jakobe

Linn with his letter, and Wise was excited with the results. “(Caleb) has improved his handwriting so much,” she said. “I am so impressed with him. ... He has been working on that all year.” The reading buddies program is “pretty cool,” Caleb said. “We get to do fun activities, and we get to help them learn.” Jakobe found Caleb’s

ing at the Trust Building from our window. “I walked through it with an architect in 2007 to look at renovating it but that was when we were also looking at Lincoln-Hubbard. For whatever reason, we were steered toward the Lincoln project, but I think now is the time for the Trust project.” While the price of the building wasn’t disclosed, its purchase comes at a

great time, said Community Development Director John Simmons. It’s not on the city’s dangerous building list, but it had the potential to be in a few years, which would have cost the city thousands if it had to be torn down. “It’s been a long time coming,” Simmons said. “There have been a lot of attempts made over the years from various people wanting to purchase the building, but for one reason or another, they always backed out. We’re finally seeing actual progress.” According to Simmons, the building has been vacant since the mid-1990s after it was damaged in two fires and went two years without a roof, causing major water damage. In his article, Rich noted: “Stucco and brick have crumbled,

parts of the third- and fourth-floor turret is exposed, and a termite infestation has caused some minor damage to parts of the ground floor.” Rodewald doesn’t mince words when describing the building — he knows there are major issues that will have to be fixed. “It’s going to be challenging, to say the least,” he said. “You walk into these buildings and see all the problems; I think that scares people away, but not us. We’re used to seeing the potential of a building, not what’s currently there.” First on the list of projects is hiring a structural engineer to make sure the building is sound, though Rodewald was “confident the bones of the building are fine” and then bringing in a historical preservationist from Columbia. “We’re committed to making the outside of the building as historically accurate as possible while keeping it modern and updated,” he said. “Take something like the windows; we’ll take the old ones out to install energy-efficient windows but they’ll be approved by the state housing preservation officer to match the historic fabric of time.” As for the rest of the renovations, Rodewald plans to use president of Sedalia-Pettis County Redevelopment Corporation and Sedalia architect George Esser’s plans as a starting point. “George will remain our architect,” Rodewald said. “He knows so much about the building inside and out, it would be stupid not to take advantage of that expertise. He’s had a set of plans for the building for a long time and our first step will be looking those over and seeing what needs to be tweaked or changed.” Rodewald said he’d like to stick with Esser’s original

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assistance with his letter helpful, although this was his second letter to Santa this year. He asked for the same gifts in both of them: a dirt bike and a hamster. As their time together came to a close, Wise alerted her students to line up to prepare to return to her classroom. The students exchanged goodbyes and hugs. Emery said the kindergartners get excited when

they see their reading buddies in Skyline’s hallways, and she and Wise start the program at the beginning of each school year to help the students make connections early. “They tell their parents they don’t want to miss school on Friday. They don’t want to miss reading day,” Emery said. “It’s a good way to end the week; everyone leaves feeling good.”


The Missouri Trust Building, a vacant fading architectural bookend to the Hotel Bothwell at Fourth Street and South Ohio Avenue has an opportunity to shine again as one of the downtown s jewels. ideas of using the ground floor for retail space and the top three floors for apartments. “We’re looking at a variety of things, maybe office space since it’s so close to the Pettis County Courthouse,” he said. “Floors two through four will definitely be housing. We’ll be looking at whether market retail or affordable income housing makes more sense. My gut tells me it will likely be market price, but there will be an emphasis on luxury and space. “(Crowne Development) doesn’t just come in and gloss over renovations to get by as cheap as we can. Our investors are pretty adamant that if we’re going to do something like this, we should do it right.” Sedalia Downtown Development Inc. Administrator Meg Liston said she was “absolutely thrilled” when Rodewald contacted her on Black Friday about the building. “Anytime Greg calls, it’s a good thing,” she joked. “The Trust is a huge portion of our skyline, a great piece of property for development and there are a lot

of opportunities there that will benefit downtown and the surrounding buildings.” Simmons echoed Liston’s thoughts, saying Rodewald’s previous work with Lincoln-Hubbard dispelled any fears of an unknown developer abandoning the project halfway through. “It was definitely a comfort knowing Greg and his history, not only with the Lincoln-Hubbard project, but also other historical projects statewide,” Simmons said. “We know he’s going to do this the right way. He assembles a great team and is very involved with his projects.” Rodewald hoped to look at the building plans before the holiday season, with an eye on potential state and federal historic tax credits. Esser told Rich he estimated a developer could make “45 percent of your money back” but Rodewald thinks that number could be higher. “We have a few different things we’re looking at,” he said. “It’s expensive to do historic preservation correctly but we’re not in the business of losing money. And it also goes without saying that a project like this, we’re not planning to come in, fix it up, flip it for a profit and leave. We’re in this for the long term.” Now that the contracts have all been signed, Rodewald said he was looking forward to the project getting started. “I think we’ve found a way to make (the renovation) work to bring back the Trust Building to its original glory,” he said. “We’re going to not only make it a contributing member of the historic downtown area, but part of the economic engine as well.”

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Downtown in Focus  

The Sedalia Democrat's "Downtown in Focus" series. Seven stories, plus a closing editorial and an outcome story about the sale of the Trust...

Downtown in Focus  

The Sedalia Democrat's "Downtown in Focus" series. Seven stories, plus a closing editorial and an outcome story about the sale of the Trust...